Mom made chicken for dinner, just the way I (she) like(s) it. Salt-and-peppered with a squeeze of lemon. Plain...and boring. Again.
Would it kill her to have a little spice in life?
She places the plate in front of me. Mashed potatoes sit lopsided next to it, made with skim milk and no butter. Just salt. (I tried telling her it was just a starch.) I tell myself I won't eat it, or drink the glass of milk meant to help fill me up.
Vegetables and chicken is as good as it's going to get tonight. That's fine by me. I'm not hungry to begin with.
Mom picks up on this right away. Of course she would.
"Nothing." And the tug-of-war for information begins.
"Did something happen in class?" She gasps. "Did Melody mention your turnout again?"
"No." I keep my voice firm, but not elevated. That was how she would KNOW something was wrong.
"Something at school, then?"
With a sigh, I lean into my elbow, picking at the steamed broccoli with my fork.
Mom is sympathetic. "Aw, honey. And on your last day..."
"Nothing...happened." She just wasn't letting this go!
"What did Jared say about Juilliard?"
Here it starts to become difficult. Despite my best efforts, I'm rambling, "You know, maybe he doesn't care! Maybe Kelsey was just a little extra today, or the tests a little stressful."
"No, maybe I just haven't had coffee in 3 days, and I know people are talking about our breakup. Juilliard is coming up soon and I will be starting over with more people who don't like me and my mom is being overbearing with all this pressure-" The fork drops from my hand, clattering on the plate. I lean back and huff, "And I really don't like chicken."
A few beats pass. She asks me the most repulsive question in that tight moment. "You and Jared broke up?"