Friday, 10 June 2011

The Café

We sat in the supermarket café at a table that really could have done with a wipe. We watched as our mothers had joined the queue and chatted and assumed they were talking about us. We had sat and waited, all embarrassed, while we usually had so much to say to each other. They arrived back with what the menu valiantly described as buffalo mozzarella, vine ripened tomato and pesto on a toasted ciabatta and we all ended up with an additional mixed salad – which I really did not want and never would have asked for. There were lukewarm cappuccinos to drink as we were supposed to be grown ups now.

They fussed and we all started to eat. The mozzarella now cold but dribbling a greasy oil over our hands and arms. With the napkins too thin to mop up the humiliation. Somehow I felt my hands would never be clean again, there would always be this greasy lingering shame.

Our two mothers had gotten together and taken us teenagers out, a special treat mine had claimed; for you and your new boyfriend. All afternoon we had to suffer the indignity as they watched our every move, and now our every mouthful. They monitored every salad leaf dangling from our lips, every drip of coffee, every awkward glance.

Talk was of all the usual inane chatter: weather, work, the state of the economy, Aunt Clara's leg. It all drifted over us and we fell into an embarrassed silence. The grown ups seemed not to notice the silence and prattled on. Mothers: how easily they make first love mundane.

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