I still can’t kick the habit of eating off of a knife. I remember my mother would get mad every time she saw me do it. I’d listen to dozens of reasons as to why I should avoid it. There were rather sensible ones such as hurting my mouth, and completely superstitious ones such as getting an angry temper for the rest of my life.
I did, of course, attempt to state my position. I’d declare dozens of reasons as to why I should be eating off of a knife. There were rather sensible ones such as reducing the amount of dirty utensils that would need to be washed after dinner, and completely superstitious ones such as it helping to develop an immunity to werewolf bites for the rest of my life. But my mother wasn’t having it—and anyway, why shouldn’t she have the last word? She was my mother! Her verdict would always be delivered with the same stinging whip crack as a wet kitchen rag to the neck—which she also did.
All rationales aside—even the irrational ones—I learned not to fall into these habits while my mother was in the room. But at other times? Well, then all bets were off. I didn’t have to concern myself with her displeasure and so I’d often not be conscious of all the wrong things I was doing until after I’d done them. And then I’d get a wicked little smile on my face. I still kinda do.
In these days of lockdown and social distancing, I find myself wishing she was still here. I would love to defy her again, to find new habits with which to earn the pleasure of her displeasure. I wonder… could that be the reason why I still eat off of a knife or walk under ladders or leave umbrellas open inside the house?
And also, I’m not afraid of werewolves, but that’s a completely different story for another time.
by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
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