Life with Teenagers

Archive for January 2012

crack me an egg

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“Mom, I’m F#$%*! I can’t! I skipped three classes during add/drop time and now I’m going to be late again!,” he said. He stood in the kitchen with a wild look in his eyes, his hair disheveled and dryly sticking out from underneath his ball cap. He was hyperventilating slightly. I’d seen him do this many times through the years and it no longer rattled me. I noticed the dry skin on his face from shaving, the aggravated acne. He was wearing an oversized black sweatshirt, and his LL Bean slippers with no socks.

“You should at least put socks on,” I said to him before he left the house the first time with my hastily scrawled check in his hand.

I watched him go over to the dryer, where there is perpetually a pile of folded clothes on top, unfolded clothes inside, and wet clothes in the washer. He ruffled through the piles, picked up one sock, and gave up.

“I’m F^#@$#@$!” he said. The obscenities started rolling out again and he slammed his way down the stairs.

“This is going to be a great morning,” I thought to myself. I already witnessed my partner in the kitchen huffing and racing to shove things in an already overstuffed backpack she leaves open and lying against the closet door on the floor.

“I don’t have coffee today,” she said with disgust, throwing the silver bialetti coffee pot in the sink. It’s the seal. It’s broken. It’s not working.”

“Ok, well, you will buy coffee at the station,” I said calmly while bending down to slip on socks, slide on shoes and grab my red coat.

While my partner fumbled with the zipper on her long black coat, I ran down the stairs to the basement and called down for the fourth time to the teen still lying in bed. “Get up! I’m coming right back, after I get back from the train station,” I said.

“You ready?” my partner said impatiently as she opened the front door and pressed the garage door opener button at the same time. I grabbed my bag and my keys and followed her out the door on the way to the car. Just as I was walking out, I heard the sound of the bathroom pump in the basement. The teen had successfully made it into the shower.

And now, downstairs, the tantrum is continuing.

“F@##%#$^ I don’t have my bank card. I can’t find my bankcard. I’m F´#$%##$ed!”

I wait for a break in the screaming and walk halfway down the stairs. In my most stern, and yet surprisingly calm mother voice, I yell down to the teen. “Get up here right now.”

This must be why I’m in the house today despite the work I waited for over the weekend having not yet arrived in my email inbox. Life is unraveling at home.

He storms up the stairs and stands before me in the kitchen, adrenaline racing, looking ready for a fight.

“You will take my bank card right now, fill up your tank, and drive back here to give it back to me. And yes, you will be late but you won’t miss the entire class,” I say.

I start to think about the $50 check I just wrote to him and the money he is about to put in the tank from my card, and my own dwindling bank account on the last day of the month, but I push it away. I open the front door, push the button that lifts the garage door, and push him out into the cold. I watch him shuffle down the driveway, in his brown mocs with the white stitching around the edges and his bare ankles showing, and get in the driver’s side of his buick. The front left tire with the slow leak has caused the tire to sink slightly into the driveway.

“He really shouldn’t drive with that tire.” I think. But this is another fight for another day.

Instead, I turn on the stove, toss a little olive oil in the cast iron pan and crack a couple of eggs into a small orange and blue porcelain bowl. While the oil starts to shimmer in the pan, I whip the eggs with a whisk, then reach for the skillet in the dish drainer near the sink, place it on the stove, and turn up the heat.

Splash and crackle. I dump the eggs in the hot oil and they instantly start to firm up in the pan. With my wooden spatula, I stir them around three times, shut off the heat, grab a handful of shredded Mexican cheese from the package and toss that onto the hot eggs. I lay a whole-wheat tortilla onto the other skillet, and search the refrigerator for a jar of salsa. I find it, and a red pepper, and grab both and leave out on the counter near the drain. While the tortilla is cooking, I open the drawer that holds the tin foil, pull out a single sheet and flip over the tortilla once. I grab the red pepper and a large knife and cut half of it into long strips and throw the handful into a tan wax paper bag.

The teen is already back, and he hangs his head as he gets out of the car with my green bank card sticking out of his hand. I grab the tortilla and flip it onto the foil, scoop out the eggs and drop them onto the middle of the tortilla. I open the jar of salsa and drip a couple tablespoons out of the jar into the middle and fold the whole thing up, wrapped quickly in tin foil.

In one swift motion, I grab it all and open the front door and press the garage door opener button. As the door slowly lifts, I watch the sunlight crack at the bottom of the floor get wider and wider and eventually there he is with his eyes lowered, his body in a slumped position. He hands over my card silently and I take it while giving him the foil wrapped burrito and the bag of red pepper.

“Take three deep breaths, eat this, and eat the red pepper, too. It’s good for your brain. When you get to the class, stay after it’s over and talk to teacher,” I say. Okay?”

“Okay,” he says.

I watch him turn and walk slowly back to the car, get in, and back his way out of the driveway turning left and holding the foil wrapped burrito with one hand. I stand there silently, listening to the heat in the house kick on, the coffee maker sputter its last drips into the pot, and I stare out the kitchen window watching to see if he takes a bite.

But I can”t tell from this distance now. The car, now onto the street, lurches forward and starts to roll away out of sight.


Written by kmguay

January 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized