Phase Two: Jurassic Park and Ice Cream

Posted: November 30, 2009 in Chapters of "In the Gray"
“Do you find yourself getting angry at other people?,” he slowly narrowed his eyes in this kind of understanding that annoyed the hell out of me. Naturally, my answer would be yes.

I made a mock-frown and avoided eye contact, “When they do stupid shit, yeah.”

“I see. What I’m trying to get at here, is… do you find yourself getting angry at other people for not being your mother?,” he ended his sentence with a condolence-laced tone. You know, when people kind of smirk and frown at the same time and have that dopey “I’m sorry” look on their face, and you just want to smack it right off. That look. I pretend it doesn’t agitate me, his emotional digging.

“Well, how could I expect anyone to even come close to being my mom? Yeah, I can’t remember what kind of shampoo mom would use, and I yelled at the lady in HEB once because she didn’t understand me when I was trying to explain what it smelled like. I kind of just started crying and left her in the hair care aisle and I’m still trying to remind myself that it’s not that poor lady’s fault. But you know, part of me really thinks it is her fault. And yeah, it’s a bummer that my dad still thinks my favorite flavor ice cream is the same as his. And yeah… it can get a little depressing that people don’t understand even really little things about me. Mom knew a lot.”

“Like what?” …like you care. Nice necktie. Red triangles. Very cool.

“Like that I’d rather scoop my own eyeballs out than sit through even thirty minutes of Top 40 radio, because I think Miley Cyrus is a trashy little brat – and I so hope she gets pregnant, by the way – and because I listen to stuff like the Jurassic Park soundtrack on loop,” I spoke very bluntly, like it was supposed to just click for him. It did not.

“Why do you like that music so much?” …because the movie is about dinosaurs, I don’t know. What kind of question is that? How much do they pay you to ask me about why I like Jurassic Park? Fuck.

I find a spot on the wall just above Tyler’s head and just stare at it, because it doesn’t make a difference who or what I talk to, so long as words are actually coming out of my mouth. And anyway, I always like to throw people off by looking in their general direction, but not really looking them in the eye. On the same track, I also like saying hi to people when there are other people slightly ahead of them… because about three different people think I’m waving at them, and I just walk away afterwards, leaving them with a pinch of confusion and two dashes of embarrassment – and I must say, it’s personally rewarding. I get the deepest, warmest, most Christmas-like satisfaction when I do things like that. I say that like I’m some sort of deviant, but I really just like to catch people in that small moment when they feel stupid. They think no one is watching, but Leta’s watching. And that’s probably very wrong of me.

“Because…,” I take a very long pause to inhale dramatically, as if to make me think harder, “You know that one score, right when they’re leading you through the big gates of Jurassic Park and the Jeep is driving really slowly and the kids are looking around like ‘that brontosaurus is eating leaves! wow this shit is so cool!’ and there’s that motivational music playing, and it’s just really, really beautiful? I listen to that score… so much… and it makes me feel like I can fly.”

He’s writing on his little clipboard and I can’t possibly imagine how he could be analyzing my taste in music. I hope this means I’m a serial killer, or something cool like that. Otherwise, he has no reason to be writing.

“And your mom knew that?,” he stopped writing for a bit to look up at me, still fixated on the cream colored walls of his cute little office.

“She knew everything.”

“Tell me some more about what your mom knew.” …that’s just dumb. Mothers know everything about their daughters, or at least they’re supposed to. I don’t see the point of this, and I’m dying to itch the back of my shoulder because it feels like a colony of ants are having a bar mitzvah dance party on my back. But I am exercising self restraint, and for some reason this self-help plan of mine has morphed into demented shit like resisting the urge to scratch an itch. I don’t know.

“I faked an allergic reaction to seafood once when I was eight, because I hated the texture of shrimp and the fact that everything tasted like ocean,” I don’t want to laugh, even though it’s funny, because laughing would make everything okay. I can see a big grin form on Tyler’s face and I’m just focusing on pushing my grin back down into my stomach.

“Why didn’t you just say you didn’t like it?”

“My dad never made us eat vegetables, but he was unswerving on Indian food and seafood. We just had to try nasty shit like oysters and prawns and shrimp. I don’t even know what a prawn is, but the thought of it made me gag. That’s why. I mean, do you know how much of the ocean consists of whale sperm? Does that not gross you out? Because it grosses me out.”

“Yeah, that’s pretty gross,” he keeps smiling and looking up at me from under his brow.

“Shrimp has the consistency of popcorn and… human flesh,” this disgusted rage keeps snowballing and I’m starting to talk with my hands now, until I hear an imaginary record rip and I suddenly halt in my words, “Wait, no… God… that came out wrong. Stop writing.”

“Don’t worry.”

“I don’t eat people. I’ve never… I don’t know what human flesh tastes like, don’t write that down. It’s just, you know… the texture? I guess?”

“I know you don’t eat people. Keep going,” he sets his pen down to reassure me, and I play with my thumb ring a little.

“So I faked an allergic reaction. I fell to the ground and started twitching and pretended I couldn’t breathe, and my dad just about keeled over in fear. He never let me near The Water Port or Joe’s Crab Shack again. Mom knew it was an act, though. She knew me. And she never told. We had a lot of secrets. Some of them, I didn’t even have to tell her.”

“Sounds like you and your mom had quite a connection,” his smile was supposed to make me feel happy in my nostalgia, but it just made me feel violated for some reason.

Of course we had a connection. I lived inside her belly and made her look like a fat cow for nine months. I came out of her vagina, for Christ’s sake. She comforted me when my dog, Desi, died and when boys threw gravel at me on the playground in first grade. She taught me how to use a tampon. She was understanding when I didn’t do so well in my math classes. She always took me to get ice cream when I lost a volleyball game – and she knew my favorite flavor was Pistachio Almond. But I can’t eat that anymore, because all my favorite things are tied to her, and enjoying them just makes me cry – and I don’t do that anymore either.


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