Saturday, January 14, 2006
breakfast at jellyhead's
It's Saturday morning and I'm eating a mango, all to myself. Luxury indeed!
It's funny how certain foods can bring back memories. For instance mangoes remind me of when my mother left my father.
One day my mother came and asked me to pack clothes for my two younger siblings, because she was leaving Dad. I felt shocked but secretly a bit excited (it sounds shameful, I know, but this is the honest truth). I had always fantasised about how peaceful my life would be if we children lived with just Mum. Dad arrived just as we were leaving. He pleaded with Mum not to leave. He sat in an armchair looking dazed and forlorn as we kissed him goodbye. Although I know he was not an innocent player, it still brings me to tears just writing about that moment.
We drove towards the city in the Corolla. I sat in the back with my little brother and sister. Mum played the Paul Simon CD 'Graceland'. I kept thinking of Dad, and the utter desolation in his eyes. But I also felt as if my life was going to be lighter, easier, sometime soon.
Shortly after we got to the city, I went to stay with an older, widowed family friend, Mrs B, because I had upcoming exams for which I was supposed to be studying. Mum and Dad would each phone me, and I would counsel them in my own, teenage and inept manner. I lost my appetite almost completely. I went from skinny to quite underweight.
Mrs B, bless her, took me under her wing and coaxed me to eat a little every meal. And every morning she gave me mango, fresh from her tree, sliced up in a little pink bowl.
You would think that eating mango might make me feel sad, or heavy-hearted, but it does not. Mango reminds me of the incredible kindness of a lady I knew only a little before my parents' separation, but who treated me as if I was a treasured daughter. She is now a dear friend of mine. And now each of my parents are happy in their new lives, with new loves.
And when I want to spoil myself with something healthy, I buy a large, juicy, sweet mango.