feed the children by ingridfnl

16 May

“You think you’re doing what?” asked Brian’s mother, incredulous.

“I’ve volunteered for a development project in Rwanda.”

“I don’t think so,” she replied, snapping the kitchen cupboard closed. She opened a jar of peanut butter and said, “it’s dangerous.”

“Aren’t you the one who said, ‘Think of the children in Africa,'” he mimicked. “Well I am. Jeeze. I thought you’d be proud of me and now you’re all freaking out and stuff.”

“I’m just…,” Paula spread the peanut butter over a piece of bread and handed it to him. He narrowed his eyes and accepted the peace offering, scarfing it down in two bites. I’m just scared, she thought. He’s just a boy. Over the past couple of years she’d seen him transform. He’d become a vegetarian and wore only organic cotton. He’d grown his hair into a long pony tail and, most dramatically, he’d grown a beard. Her little boy, bearded.

Paula looked at him, his long gangling limbs, his beard, her husband’s eyes, her own raised eyebrows, raised back at her…

She took a deep breath. She knew she was screwed. She was the one who always talked about being generous to the less fortunate and about appreciating what they had. Now where had it gotten her. Her eighteen year old was leaving her. Her baby. He was going to go to Africa. She didn’t know how she would say no.

“Honey. I’m sorry. I’m over-reacting. I love you. But how about after university. How about …” she touched his arm and he flinched back.

“Nooooo,” he said insistently. “The need is now. You’re such a hypocrite!” He turned to stalk out of the room, and she trailed behind him.

“Honey. Brian. Please, let’s talk more about this,” she begged.

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3 Responses to “feed the children by ingridfnl”

  1. juleshg May 17, 2010 at 3:40 am #

    I am torn between wanting to read this as Brian and wanting to read this as a parent. I grimaced a bit when he called his mom a hypocrite. It is something you want to say as a young adult but as a mom I can totally understand his mother’s reservations. Passion is a dangerous thing in a 19-year-old!

    • jmforceton May 19, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

      Agree the hypocrite comment was tough, uncomfortable as it was meant to be. This is a scene that has been played out millions of times. A couple of times in my household.

  2. ingridfnl May 19, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    The hypocrite comment was a sad memory of how judgemental I was of my parents when I was a teen. Sad but true.

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