Vancouver. March 25, 2019. Monday.
The plane ride aggravated Dylan’s flu. She threw up, and was in stinging chills, coupled with shortness of breath.
It is past 2 o’clock in the morning when we swoop out of the airport and take a cab to the hospital — where dad has been admitted to — I have notified mom of the predicament, and she meets us by the entrance upon our arrival.
“Oh, sweetheart!” Mom checks on Dylan, then looks at me. “This is a severe flu!”
“Oh, mom!” I hug her, almost in tears. “I’m about to explode! I can’t even think anymore!”
She hands me her car keys. “Here. Drop all your stuff into my trunk. It’s just parked at the east end of the lot. I’m taking Dylan inside.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Hansel,” Dylan mumbles, smiling.
“Oh, no worries, sweetheart,” mom replies, caressing Dylan’s face. “You’ll be fine now.”
And I stand there, surrounded by our belongings, feeling the floating tears of enormous love. My loving mother, caring for my one and only LUSH — with all her accepting and genuine heart.
I AM THE MOST BLESSED HUMAN ALIVE!!!
Dylan is treated in a private room nearby dad’s. Both of them are asleep now. Due to restrictions on visiting hours, mom and I drive away to a 24-hour diner.
We sit in a booth, and a waitress flounces over to take our order. Her dumbstruck reaction as she lays her bowled eyes on me — well — pleases my mother — with an unassuming brush. Growing up, I would get engrossing attention and stares everywhere. When I became a fully grown woman, my walnut would get disgusted and displeased by strangers’ subconscious and emotional extolment — especially by those who personally knew me and casual or business encounters. Until I learned how to shatter it up and get it over with!
Though this time around, it has amped on! As my walnut is now attached to All of Lush— and my one and only LUSH! Hopefully, this waitress is still smoothing along in the sane world, uncontaminated and —
“Ace Hansel,” she yelps, taken aback. Uh-oh. And there goes the validation of my walnut epidemic, corrupting the rest of the country.
Mom simpers. “You’ve watched it, too, huh?”
“Excuse me?” I whoop at my mother. “Mom!”
“Oh my god!” the waitress wobbles. “I can’t believe I’m literally meeting you right now! Like, for real! And you’re just — wow! WOW!!!”
“Honey,” mom addresses me, “it’s all over. Your dad got overwhelmed by it, that’s why his blood pressure went berserk.”
“Oh no!” Remorse belts across my throat.
“May we order now, please?” mom says to the waitress.
“Of course!” And she gets her notepad ready, as her dreamy eyes gun through me.
“Just a strawberry pie and a cup of black coffee for me, please,” mom instructs her, then nods at me. “Honey, what are you having?”
“Coffee,” I mutter, stifling a smile at the waitress. “Thank you.”
“Right on!” she cheers and trots away.
“He was too ecstatic about it!” mom says. “It was a whole lot of mix, really. Your All of Lush superb performance, which completely surprised us ‘cause the last time we heard you sing was when you appeared on a talent show in Elementary school. And then — there’s Alex’s revenge. Ugh!” Her face goes dim. “I am not even going to lampoon you as to why you dated her. What’s done is done.”
“I’m sorry, mom,” I quiver. “You’ve no idea how ashamed I am of it all. It’s disgraceful.”
She holds my hand, perusing me with her forbearing eyes, “Honey –”
“Mom –” I mumble, interrupting her, “I’m sorry if I — came out that way — I was just –”
“Bragging about a charming girl whose good heart seized your mother’s instincts into a comforting fix,” she interjects, caressing my face, “was the best thing that you had ever done out of all — your mess.”
I smile. “Isn’t she perfect?”
“An easy breeze,” she agrees. “Her purity and all. Which reflects her parents’ sterling character, too.”
“Oh, mom!” I gush. “Her delightful folks! Their understanding, support, and love! Everything! I can’t even express to you how embarrassed, grateful, and conscience-ridden I am! I want to make it up to them somehow, but they’ve dismissed my offer flat-out! I feel really bad — and –”
“Your dad and I have had a talk about it, too,” she sighs. “It’s heartbreaking. We’ll figure something out, honey. Something special for them. Don’t worry.”
“We should,” I reply. “Oh, god. And I cannot believe Alex would do such vicious things to innocent people. How could she just –”
“Don’t mention her name anymore,” she snaps. “It’s making my blood curdle! Ugh!”
The waitress returns with our order and grins at me. “Are you ever gonna record a song or something? Oh my god! That would be like — the greatest thing ever! I’m just sooo freakin’ in love with — YOU! Like, everything about you! You blow my mind — like — like all the way — and — and –”
“Uh, no,” I interrupt her. “It’s not my thing, really.”
“Her wife wouldn’t be pleased about it,” mom drops a follow-up.
“Oh.” Her disappointing sigh flies into my face. “Well, I’m still a fan, and will always be a fan! Can we take a selfie?”
“I’m sorry,” I politely decline. “I would love to, but not right now. My wife and my dad are both in the hospital, so — I’m just not –”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that,” she says. “Maybe next time when you happen to come by?”
“Sure,” I reply, smiling.
“Okay!” She roosters away, swaying her curvaceous behind — as an enticing token.
“Now you’ve got another problem,” mom warns me.
“What is it?” I sip my coffee.
“The entire straight female population is turning into lesbians,” she says. “Just like your sweet darlings.”