November 27, 1994 (short story)

November 27, 1994

Breakfast

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Good morning good morning good morning to you. I’m awake. What was I dreaming about? Mom says a soul is a sole, isn’t sole fish? Is my soul a fish? No dreams from last night.

 

I’m lying here for a moment. No school today, it is a Sunday. I’m going to play lego with Tory, I like the beach house with the big windows. Veronica and Rachel, too bad Tory get’s Veronica, I like her more. Maybe I will build something new. I made that new red house last week, it was the exact same on one side as the other. It would be a good restaurant. Maybe I can finish it then Veronica and Rachel can go leave their beach house and visit it. I hope Reston doesn’t see it, he always makes his lego so smart,  I’m not as good as him at it.

 

Mom is yelling breakfast. Breakkkkkkfast. Let me wake up. I swing my legs out from underneath my covers, a Lion King quilt, the bright colors are nice. That movie was so good. The blanket makes me happy. Poor Mufasa, maybe he will still be alive somehow I hope. Mom left out my clothes for today, they are my nice clothes, soft blue jeans with an elastic and a striped blue shirt. Why am I wearing my good clothes today?

 

I’m the first one to the breakfast table and mom is cooking French toast. Her black pan with the white lid is full of pieces of bread covered in egg. It’s not my favorite but Reston loves it so much. Some of the bread is sourdough which I really like, I hope I get that type. Mom is humming as she cooks. Dad is over on his black leather chair in his robe. The sun is nice today, I see the water of the ocean.

 

I sit at my spot at our round table, the plastic cover isn’t straight so I straighten it. Reston comes out next and he is grumpy. Good morning mom says and he responds not loudly. He sits next to me and I say nothing. Reston is making me feel tired too. I let out a yawwwwwwwwn. Oh that feels nice. Tory is here now too. He is in a good mood and with a big smile goes up to mom and says happy birthday. Oh! That is why I am wearing my good clothes, it is moms birthday! Is that today? Where is moms calendar…. yes, there on the fridge, Suzy Zoo, yes today is November 27. I wonder if this will affect my lego playing? Reston and i stand up and we say happy birthday and give mom a hug.

 

Mmmm, the french toast is good today. Reston has his with nothing on it but Tory and I add Aunt Jemima syrup and it’s so good now, I don’t even mind that I didn’t get the bread I like. The smell of the Aunt Jemima is so nice and the black lady on the bottle looks so fat and happy.

 

Dad comes over and eats with us. He is in a good mood talking fast fast. We’re going to go to Pipers Lagoon for a hike today. That will be fun. I ask him if I can play lego first and he says I can play when I come home. That’s ok. I like Pipers Lagoon, I like having to raise my legs so high to climb up the mountain. That teenager died there, dad says we can find his teeth. I don’t want to find it but Reston, me and Tory always play looking for them. We will get to take dad’s Mercedes with its good smell. I hope I get to sit by a window and open it. Maybe dad will open the sunroof with it’s vrmmming noise.

 

Dad is a crazy driver but that is fun. We’ll go fast and maybe he’ll ask someone to check the lights and he’ll honk at us. That will be fun. Mom isn’t eating with us she doesn’t like French toast because it is bad for her. I look out from the window out past the ocean and the waves are white which means it is wavy and cold out. I hope mom gets me a jacket to wear.

 

Dad tells us to go get ready and me and Tory and Reston run to our rooms. We hear a yell, dad is saying put the dishes in the dishwasher. Oops, I forgot, but why do I have to do it? I run back to my room on my tippy toes, the carpet feels good under them.

 

The smell of French Toast and syrup is nice.

 

Lunch

I am sitting in the backseat in the middle with Tory on my left and Reston on the right. Pipers Lagoon was fun and it’s lunch time. Mom and dad are talking and I hear the word McDonalds and I am excited maybe we will get McDonalds.

 

Dad drives down the highway and the radio is turned on to something boring about things happening in Africa. Tory is telling me about Mrs. Cato and how high her pants are, they are really high it is true. I don’t know her though, I only know Mrs White and how she has us sit on a tape line and reads us choose your own adventure which I really like. We can’t play pogs anymore which is sad but also ok since Danny lost my favourite pog slammer. Besides, Dayton has that new toy that lets you cook monsters I want to play with. His house is fun and sad, I like his mom she is nice and good.

 

We are turning and moving and I can’t see where we are going and then I see McDonalds yay yay! We are going out for lunch it has been so so long since we have been here this is going to be so good and I am going to play! Reston is out of the car first so I jump out with him while Tory is going slow and we run in and mom tells us to watch where we are going but there are no cars so we go inside and smell the McDonalds smells. Dad leads us and we sit in my favourite chair, the booth with the glass blocks like in a house right in the middle of McDonalds it is like a fortress. We all go up together and dad asks us what we want and I want a Big Mac, no a double Big Mac, oh they don’t have that: then a Big Mac. I run back to the booth and slide up and down the plastic, it is slippery and fun. Dad is saying something. Slip slip slip, these seats are fun! Oh, he wants me to get the ketchup and straws, sure! I play with the big pump and there is ketchup in the big white cup in my hand and I get more and I pop out straws from the machine and here is napkins ok ok I think that is enough (I hate napkins) and I come back and the food is not here yet and Reston and Tork have run out to the play place and I follow them.

 

I take my shoes off and touch the finger of the sign that looks like a cartoon man that measures if I am too big to go in the playplace but I am still just a kid so I am fine. I run like a dog up the hill and it smells like plastic and I am racing around I can so fast circle circle circle. Tory wants to go down the slide so I push him down and he goes fast and yells and I think he is having fun which is nice. I go down to and I lean in the curves so I can go faster and I shoot out the bottom so fast, good think the ground is so soft and bouncy.

 

Reston is in the ball pit so I jump in and start throwing balls at him. Haha, he is good at dodging them, let me throw more. Hey, he is throwing them at me, hey they kind of hurt. Stop it! Let me hit him hard with one then he will stop. Oh no! That hit his face! Oops. He is coming at me and he is pushing me let me push him back it’s his fault he started it hey hey hey get off me! Oh, food is here. We both stop wresting at the same time and go run in McDonalds. Oops, forgot my shoes, do I need them? Mom says I need them ok ok let me get them.

 

So many fries they are so good here. Mom likes the ones that are little and soft, I like them too but it is her birthday so let me find some for her. There are some. Ok, let me have just a few. Wow they are good. Where is my Big Mac? Why does dad always take so long to give me my food? Where is my Big Mac? I am hungry! Reston and Tory are already having their food where is mine this isn’t fair! Dad is saying something what is he saying? That they are out of Big Macs! HOW CAN MCDONALDS BE OUT OF BIG MACS. This is terrible. What do I do now. Everyone is eating and having fun, this isn’t fair, I am hungry and want to have fun… My lip is quivering but I will be big and not cry but there are tears at the corner of my eyes… wait… Dad!: he pulls a Big Mac from behind the wall! He was joking! Everyone is laughing. It wasn’t that funny, I was hungry. But maybe it was  a little funny. And now it is here in front of me and I take a big bite and it is good. It is so big, I need to eat it very carefully. Mmmm. Let me have some fries too and the Coca Cola or wait, where is the orange soda? I can drink so much of it with the big McDonalds straws, more then Reston or Tory.

 

Dad wants a bite of my burger. He always takes a big bite, bigger than the rest of the burger. But he is dad. Maybe he won’t take such a big bite this time. Hey! That’s even bigger than last time! I should get another burger…. But my stomach is full so maybe it is ok. I see Tory just has a small burger what did he get? A Happy Meal! Oh wow, he has a toy from the Pagemaster I want to see that movie so much! I wish I had the toy? Why don’t Big Mac’s come with toys? But the toy looks bad, my lego at home is better. I wonder if he wants to color his box? Are there crayons anywhere?

 

I’m stuffed. Reston burps, that’s disgusting! I could probably burp bigger though but not like Danny P, he can burp so loud. Spencer too but Danny P more. I am sleepy. I want to go home and play.

 

I help mom and dad by carrying trays to the garbage and I stuff the tray in and I kind of like the smell but it is garbage so that is weird and we go outside. I run faster than Tory and Reston and get the good window seat behind mom and as we drive down Rutherford Road back home I put my hand out the window and let it fly like an airplane.

Dinner

We are going to the Keg for a family dinner and I’m going to order the teriyaki chicken. It’s so good, with this black topping which is chewy and hard and so nice. Mom’s birthday is great, McDonalds and a real restaurant on the same day. And all these trips in dad’s nice car: twice on the highway today. Dad hasn’t been driving fun but it is still so much nicer than the van where I feel like a normal kid.

 

I know we are in the parking lot of the Keg because the ground is rocks not cement and the car drives different. I look out the window and there is a picture of a crab saying something funny, like I should eat the chicken instead of the crab. That is funny. Dad whispers to me to get moms door so I run out and open the door for her and she smiles and maybe she knows dad told me to do it but that’s ok. Dad’s whispering to Tory and Reston and they go run to the doors of the Keg and open them for her too. Oh, haha, they try to open but they are big doors and they are difficult. They don’t open both, they just open one together and we all come inside.

 

Dad talks to the man about our reservation and I look at the big fire. It is gas powered like our fireplace at home because I can see the little pipes below the fake logs. The darkness here is orange, the only place in Nanaimo that has a darkness like this. Even the lightbulbs are painted orange. It is something strange, neat and a bit scary.

 

We go to our table, a booth at the back where we are  just up a few steps but I feel important. The table is nice and strong. I know the Keg has a great kids menu. You get a soda, a trip to the salad bar, a kids meal (which is delicious) and dessert all for $7.95 plus tip (of course) (and GST). We sit down and order our sodas, I get a Diet Coke because they don’t have cherry Coke which I can only get at Semiamoo but is good because it is what mom orders. Dad orders a Coors Light which looks very cold when it comes. Of course I tell the waiter I want the teriyaki chicken and mom looks at me funny when I do, I don’t know why. Maybe because I didn’t look at the menu? I don’t see what Tory or Reston order because as soon as I tell the waiter what I want I race down to the salad bar.  The Keg is dark in it’s orangeness, I see people but I don’t see them.

 

Lucky the salad bar is bright, like a car driving down an empty street at night. There are big lights and they show all the food, dish after dish after dish of it. I can get whatever I want, no one gets to tell me what to do. I am free. I walk all the way down to the end, seeing what there is. I know, I have been coming here for 3 years, since we first moved to Nanaimo, I am a salad bar expert, but I need to make sure nothing has changed.

 

I grab the big heavy white plate and walk below the big heavy glass which hangs over the salad bar. I can get all these first things at home. Why do I want lettuce? That is food mom eats because she’s a mother, not a boy. I want the fun things. Yes, pasta with that sauce which is yummy. Yes, potato salad, so nice, Dayton’s mom makes potato salad I wish mom did, it’s so good. I take two big spoons then I look around and see no one is watching and I take one more. Near the end of the salad bar is my favourite: the little corns. They don’t exist anywhere except at the Keg, Tory says that they grow them special and he always knows things that no one else knows. They are so good, sweet and chewy and new and neat and nice. I take a big tong batch full. My last stop is Caeser salad which I cover with soft croutons which are heavy with sauce, all of it a bit heavy kind of like a cold lasagna. My mouth is watering as I carry my heavy plate back to our table.

 

Mom and dad are talking, I feel like I can be a part of what they are saying and I like to hear them speak about all their important adult things but I want to really taste all my food. I start with the corn, I put my fork into it and it is soft but hard, like nothing else I eat. I pick it up like a normal corn on the cob and eat it which is funny because it is so small and I show Tory and Reston and they laugh and try it themselves. Then, I kind of mix everything together, I wish I had some more sauce, it is all so good, just the way I like it.  Mom is saying to be careful or we won’t eat our dinner but all this food is here now and of course I will eat it all because it is all nice.

 

My salad is finished and I am bored. Tonight is a new episode of Power Rangers, I hope we are home in time to watch it. It starts at 7:00pm and we had reservations at 5:30 pm sharp I heard dad say so that gives us 1.5 hours to eat which should be fine because that is a long time, twice as long as recess. These episodes are very important, since the green ranger who is evil is becoming good and if he can become good than the power rangers will win and Rita will be defeated, which is not so important because she is funny, but she is bad and good should win. Tommy is so cool, he knows karate so well. I bet I could do that, kick so high, I just need to learn how. Reston and Tory stole good Power Rangers and I’ve been stuck with the Blue Ranger Billy who is really great but not as great as Black Ranger or Red Ranger or Pink Ranger. Why does Tory get two Rangers, it’s unfair. If he can have two then I should be able to het Blue and Green. Maybe Reston can take Yellow too, she is okay, he can have her.

 

Oh wow the waiter has come and he has so many plates balanced. How does he do that? He is really great and skilled. He gives dad a baseball steak which looks like a baseball, he gives mom and Reston a prime rib done medium rare which they will share, than he gives Tory and me each a plate of teriyaki chicken. It smells so good, why don’t people eat this food everyday? Why have an egg sandwich when there is teriyaki chicken? It’s better than fruit by the foots and dunkaroos combined times 1000 or at least 100. I am strong and a gentleman waiting for the waiter to put pepper from his big pepper mill over my food, waiting what seems like the same amount of time as mom before I say stop.  Then, I hold the big Keg knife, like the ones mom and dad stole that we keep at home, and I cut just a little piece of the chicken. A really small piece but the best piece because I want to really enjoy it, the triangle piece where every side but one is covered in the hardened good black topping. It comes on my tongue and I try to eat it slow but it is so good and I start wolfing the food. Everyone is quiet, except dad who doesn’t like it when it’s quiet. He says he knows everyone is happy because we are quiet, that’s funny I guess. Then he asks if anyone wants to try his baseball steak. Reston, Tory and I look up and nod, sure, more food is good.  I try it and it is not nice like my chicken or the little corn but it is ok, it is adult food. It is hard to chew, maybe I need more big teeth to like it? I get back to my chicken which comes with French fries that aren’t as nice as the ones from McDonalds and some vegetables which aren’t as nice as the salad bar but I eat because I know Reston won’t eat them and mom will make him and she will say be like me and I will look good and smart.

 

Suddenly and surprisingly there is singing. Happy Birthday to you/Happy Birthday to You/Happy Birthday to you… there are singers at the Keg! This is great. I start singing to and it’s so nice to sing for moms birthday and wow, is that a cake? Today is great! I hope I still get my ice cream too because it is included in my meal on the kids menu and I want the Neapolitan which is three flavors in one and so good. The singers stop and dad starts clapping but no one joins in because the Keg is a quiet place and dad is always loud and you can’t be too loud in a quiet place, even if it is a birthday.

 

Mom blows out all these candles, more than I can count, but she blows them all out. She is a really good candle blow outer. Dad says it is time for gifts and I am excited because I have a great gift: a bronzer that me and mom went to Eatons at Woodgrove together to get. We went through the big store down the escalator and she chose what she wanted and we split the price and she helped me wrap it and now it’s in my hands under the table, sneakily put there by dad. It’s so much better than Reston’s or Tory’s gifts because those gifts were just  given to them by dad from a pile of gifts under his bed, my gift was chosen by mom so she has to  love it. She opens each gift and she has a big smile but I am sure the biggest smile was from me. Dad gave her clothes, clothes are boring: a bronzer, whatever that is, it is exciting.

 

Dinner is finishing. Dad pays and argues about the bill, nothing angry but there was an extra soda. Dad is smart to see it but I think it was just an accident. The Keg is good, they would not cheat.

 

We get up to leave, dad opens the heavy door for mom and Reston, Tory and me too. We don’t open mom door, we are too tired. I will take a small sleep then watch Power Rangers. We drive out onto the Island Highway, I see the orange lights come past, they are like the lights in the Keg an orange darkness. I look out the window and I watch Nanaimo pass by. The bridge at the parl. The Tally-Ho where Donny lived, mom says he smells. The palm trees. My eyes are shut. I know if I sleep dad will carry me in and I will wake up tomorrow in my bed ready for school. I don’t want to sleep, I want to watch Power Rangers. The car is dark and quiet. It is smooth on the smooth road. Mom and dad don’t talk. Reston, Tory and I don’t talk. I reach my hands over my head in a big yawn, a real yawn even for an adult, then I don’t remember anything else.

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