The universe gets it.
The one thing I needed in the aftermath of finally addressing a heinous truth and exploding yesterday was sent into my life the one way it would register, a way I never saw coming.
I walked stardust over to his date & his date’s mom called out to me from the porch after drop-off.
We’d spent some time deep-diving over lattes together due to it not being often two people who intimately know Shaker Square(where I grew up, like her 30+ years prior) meet out in the world.
So when I looked up at her standing in the sun, her request cut through the disgust and resignation I had been moving through.
“Want some lasagna?”
The mathematical calculations based on memory disintegrated the haze as ten year old me momentarily took the wheel.
The parents of my dearest friends in Cleveland had only two things in common- they were white…and every single one of them cooked their asses off. There was not a mom amongst them that couldn’t cook, be it the cuisine of their own best friends- the mom of one of my besties had a bestie named Maria who taught her how to do legitimate Mexican nights that still have not been trumped to my tongue this day, or their own ethnicities within the Caucasian diaspora.
& I’ve Always been food-oriented because my mom was a queen who refused to cook while my dad was a king who did, and made sure all his kids knew how to and loved it.
But my fondest memories were of sleepover nights. Not just because I got to spend time with my demented posse that I ran with 8 hrs a day after dark. Oh no! It was because I was so sincerely hearty in my dinner approbation that Every time I slept over, those moms made utter feasts!
The one mom who we never technically saw loaded us up with pizzas and B-Movie horror flick marathon necessities, but the mom of moms of other folks Moms…was the mom of my best friend Heather.
Heather was not only the girl who was just an inch shorter than me (so next to me in class pictures kindergarten through 8th-the twin towers) she was the youngest of 3 amazons with an Italian dad, polish but basically Italian mom and a bedroom that was an altar to all things Poison to Motley crue. Heather’s mom was so badassed that the coming of age ritual for her Amazonian princesses was f ureaking Tickets to the fn Chippendales! I Loved this woman & she knew it. & when I came from the east side to the west, boxing gloves at the ready, she fed the Fuck outta me. The dad would barbeque- all our dads respectively showed off bbqing- but she?
Every kind of pasta you could f ureaking imagine at the same time- just like mind -boggling the tomatoes, cheese, meat & carbs this woman shoveled into me- & turn around, come Sunday ,While she was doing Everything else for that feast, she’d slide me her homemade pierogis from Her motherland & I’d die again every time.
So the groggy math mathing through the aftermath of genuine, heart-rending rage was:
“she’s the age of my parents, from my motherland, and everybody in Cleveland knows how to use seasoning….her lasagna is gonna be gooooooood. Say fucking yes.”
I sheepishly said “yes.”
I went in & as she prepared a plate for me she asked me what was wrong. She could tell.
And for the first time in my life, I almost did. But I stopped.
Even though part of our deep diving was on the harsh race relations realities where we come from. So she would’ve fully understood the aspect of me that didn’t bust out windows right back belonging to the racist fuck who I’d finally faced instigated the hate crime attack in Hermosa Beach over a year ago while I was pet sitting for an Indian & white family, even when the next night I saw his ass coming out his house.
She would’ve understood the violence for violence I came up in because she has kids my age from there and then and we used to beat the fuck outta each other over racist bullshit.
And she would’ve understood that I stopped because I loved the guy who showed up ashamed the next day, knowing that attack happened over him. That him showing up changed a trajectory I wouldn’t have made it back up after tumbling down. That the stupid cunt he mobilized meant nothing to me… that the instigator was the one. Him. & that I’d spent 18 months believing that not only was that me reformed, but that love conquered all, to a point of truly having given him the benefit of the doubt. Until I couldn’t anymore. Because he was a fucking idiot who had no fucking comprehension of fucking grace, given.
She asked me again but I wouldn’t tell her. I started to, and felt the vitriol pool in my mouth…but I instantly understood that it was poured.
Because I said my peace yesterday.
I spat it out. “If I talk about it now with you , it’ll just give it… be more negative shit out in the world that I don’t want there from me-“
She looked me in the eye as I felt the old world rage wash away from my features. She nodded. & I knew that, without details, she saw what it was.
“LASAGNA. Lasagna is good for soothing that. & a bottle of wine-“
We both laughed as she loaded me up with a second piece, wrapped it in foil & sent me on my way.
… I got back to Basecamp and tore into her lasagna.
Three bites in I became ravenous, cussing happily, tears in my eyes.
Because the pregaming of those feasts flooded back.
All that love, allllll that food…was on the far side of us kids making our parents get over Their viciously racist shit in all of our horribly racist neighborhoods and make safe spaces for us nerdy yet still feral multicultural and multicolored 70s babies/80s kids to play.
These kids don’t give a fuck about our prejudices! They found each other and they Love each other. That KID…. FUCKING LOVES MY KID as much as their siblings do, maybe more. If I have to shoot a neighbor trying to disrupt that while she’s with me, so be it. But she will be safe here-
I deflowered racist households my entire elementary school life, not with magical negro bs , nor performing to appease insecure sun-scared folks a got damn thing, either. As who I am. Because parents know.
Parents know who truly fucks with their kids and would have their backs in a fight, which there were alot of growing up. At least they did in Cleveland.
I ate my fucking lasagna, feeling my best friend Heather smack me on the ass from the other side of the veil, straight “fuck’ em lol.”
& then I felt her mom hug me and gruffly wipe at my tears in the spirit.
“You said everything that needed to be said.
Without having to go where we met, or any other dark place you’ve been. You can’t make people be worth what they aren’t.
Forgive him, even knowing he’s a fucking coward &idiot. Chalk it up.
You’ve been through better and worse, for better or worse.”
I grunted in agreement around lasagna nomnoms.
She turned to leave and looked back. “One more thing-” I looked up.
ALL of heaven watched you see him come out of that house by the Strand the next night, knowing he was at the root of it & that the grifting girl was a nonmotherfucking factor.
Everyone in heaven Saw you look at and through him…at that house…and we ALL heard yer big brother lucifer growl “an eye for an eye~” in your ear, reminding you that you come from blood that strikes back.
Lotsa angels lost lucre on that moment when your heart turned towards that skinny boy instead…and marveled at you going home and reaching out to him instead, numb with rage and hurt.
We all saw you choose shit you’ve never chosen before, knowing Who you are & the blood in you. We know the test actually loving him let you finally pass.
& we all saw him try to show up.
You both tried. To do different. In spite of shit. If , in the end, memory of that is it, it’s a beautiful one.
“You know the God we rock with… it’s handled, ” Heather grinned as malevolently as a reformed angel could then purred, “damn, that lasagna looks good! MOM-!”