The Rollercoaster Mommy Rides

November 8, 2007
By Arianne Agunod, Norfolk, VA

“Shake it, shake it, shake it shake it.” Outkast booms over our tiny church ice cream social’s crackling speakers. My mommy asks me if our church is as righteous as it claims to be, but she’s smirking.

“Want to join me?” she asks, offering to go dance on the damp grass by the gazebo behind our small brick church.

“What? And prove the point that our church people are less than holy?” I shoot back while glancing at our uptight community. They’re all here for a wake or something…it’s supposed to be a social/dance. No one is really talking. No one’s dancing. No one’s really outright happy - even if they are happy. They’re seated, daintily pecking at their small servings of generic ice cream. It’s all “holier than thou” around here, I think to myself. My mom smiles at me with the same thought.

“No?” Mommy senses my apprehension. “Fine. Go join those sticks in the mud. I can go dance all by myself.”

She heads out to the patch of grass and is already dancing. It attracts people’s attention-why wouldn’t it? I blush a bit, but overall feel like I ought to go to her, despite my daddy’s misgivings. He stares at her from some hundred feet distance in his slacks, polo shirt, and plain vanilla ice cream in one hand. He looks at me too, who by now edges toward mommy. Don’t you dare, his look says. Do dare, my mommy’s swinging hair, smooth moves, and gleeful laughter says.

I dare.

People stare. Their ice cream melts in languish of being forgotten.

“I knew you wanted to! You like to dance.” Mommy chides. “Show me your stuff - and forget about Daddy. He knew what he was marrying.”

“Did he predict that his kids would take after their mother?” I smile, relishing the sheer look of distaste that’s coming from daddy.

We dance. We laugh. We sing-and no, we’re not bad singers.

People begin getting up out of their seats…

And dance with us. Whoa. Even our beloved Father Mike comes over with two bowls of ice cream in hand.

“Trendsetters, are we?” he jokes.

“It’s called having fun,” Mommy declares. We finish the Outkast song. Everyone’s cheeks are rosy and their hair is messed up from the wild little dance fueled by sugar. Old 80’s music starts up. Some people sit down then, and others join my mommy for more dancing.

Until the ice cream’s gone, I think to myself, this dance is gonna last forever. Mommy begins to taunt me about sitting down for a breather.

I’m walking around my home aimlessly at one o’clock. Nothing exciting is going on right now. Sometimes it’s just like that - the majority of the family, three against four, decides to have a nice quiet day. Well actually, mommy decides. We follow. But still, I’m so bored. Hands in my pockets, I go to the dining room and find mommy there. Behind her, sunlight floods in from the open window-but there’s a screen to keep bugs out. A cool summer breeze blows in uninvited messing up mommy’s hair. She doesn’t notice me, so I take sometime to look at her, just for the heck of it.

Mommy, I think, doesn’t resemble me at all. Or I don’t resemble her…she has red brown cotton candy hair, a smallish round face with a small set of lips. Her nose is reminiscent of her own mother’s Japanese nose, and she has Oriental eyes with a light brown color. Her eyebrows complete her gentle look with their peaceful natural arch. Her complexion is lighter than mine, so much so that people think she’s got American blood flowing through her veins. Not one drop.

“Mommy.” I say. Nope. Not quite loud enough.

She’s sitting down with a book, a historical novel. She’s also got coffee with some caramel and something creamer. A few M&Ms are also by her cup, but she’s eating the leftover chocolate pudding cake. Her elbow rests on the placemat, on the tablecloth. I remember that she hates that tablecloth. If only she could just dine with the view of the lovely new wooden tabletop. She chews thoughtfully, her eyes moving left and right. She glances sometimes at her Chihuahuas - three of them…a fat bossy one, a skinny old one, and a clingy cheery one. They’re begging for the forbidden contraband-crumbs of cake.

“Mommy.” I finally say a little louder. She looks up while sipping some of her coffee.

“What?” She says, then smirks. “Why are you being annoying?”

“Nothing. I’m bored.”

“Read a book. Why not the one I lent you? The one about Catholicism and-“

“And dumbing it down?” I finish. Mommy shakes her head, her messed up her getting more messed up. “Nah, it’s okay.”

“You ought to study that. It’s our faith, you know.”

“I know.”

Silence ensues and I continue feeling bored. Mommy sorta looks at me sometimes, and I note to myself that she looks a little sad. I know what she’d like - for me to be more in tune with my faith. I’m trying, I’m trying, I think to myself, trying to channel the thought to my mommy’s mind. What a waste of time. Going back to her reading, Mommy falls silent again while she uses her feet to fidget with her pink slippers that have fuzzy thongs.

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