Issue 100 Nov 2021
Mum was baking again. Awaking to the smell of fresh bread and cookies, my mouth watered. Anxiety surged through me; she was doing this on purpose.
“Morning, sleepyhead,” she said, as I walked into the kitchen.
“Mum,” I said. “We talked about this.”
She sighed. “But they’re healthy. It’s wholemeal bread. And no chocolate this time. Just fruit and nuts in the cookies. All good stuff.”
I ran my fingers through my hair. “Do you know how much fat there is in nuts?”
“But, Ellie, it’s good fat. Come on, you know what your counsellor said. It’s necessary to have some fat in your diet.”
I stayed quiet as I reached into the fruit bowl for a banana and began to unpeel it.
“You can still change your mind.” I shake the sweaty tendrils of hair out of my face. They annoy me. The heat and the exhaust smell from the buses annoy me. He annoys me.
Derik lifts those steady brown eyes to meet mine. “I need to go, Rissa. He asked me to come.”
“Yeah, you. Not me. I’m his kid, too!” As I cross my arms and jut out my chin, I realize how silly I must look—like I’m 10 and not 16—and that makes me even angrier.
Derik looks up from the bus schedule on his cell phone and sighs. “Rissa, can you blame him? For not inviting you?”
Well, yes, I can. I can blame him for a lot of things. For leaving Mom and us. For starting over with his new family. For making promises and not keeping them.
Derik reminds me, “The last time we went, you were so rude to Angela.”
Angela. The new wife.
“You didn’t even hold the baby. Nothing is her fault, you know.”
Yeah, I know, but I sure won’t admit it.