|Английски оригинал||Перевод на български|
THANKSGIVING DAY, DADDY CLEANS OUT the turkey for me and then leaves to go pick up our Korean grandma, who lives an hour away in a retirement community with a lot of other Korean grandmas. Daddy’s mom, Nana, is spending Thanksgiving with her boyfriend’s family, which is fine by me, because I know she wouldn’t have anything nice to say about the food.
I make up a green-bean dish with orange peel and dill, in an earnest effort to be jazzy and inventive. I nominate Kitty to be my taste tester and she takes a bite of green bean and says it tastes like an orange pickle. “Why can’t we just have green-bean casserole with the fried onion rings that come in the can?” Kitty ponders. She’s cutting out different-colored feathers for her turkey place mats.
“Because I’m trying to be jazzy and inventive,” I say, dumping a can of gravy into the saucepan.
Doubtfully Kitty says, “Well, are we still having broccoli casserole? People will eat that.”
“Do you see any broccoli anywhere in this kitchen?” I ask. “No, the green in this meal is the green bean.”
“What about mashed potatoes? We’re still having mashed potatoes, right?”
Mashed potatoes. I jump up and check the pantry. I forgot to buy the potatoes. I got the whole milk and the butter and even the chives to put on top like Margot always does. But I forgot the actual potatoes. “Call Daddy and ask him to pick up Yukon gold potatoes on the way home,” I say, closing the pantry door.
“I can’t believe you forgot the potatoes,” Kitty says with a shake of her head.
I glare at her. “Just focus on your place mats.”
“No, because if I didn’t just ask about the mashed potatoes, the meal would have been ruined, so you should be thanking me.”
Kitty gets up to call Daddy, and I yell out, “By the way, those turkeys look more like the NBC peacock logo than actual turkeys, so!”
Kitty is unfazed, and I take another bite of the green beans. They do taste like an orange pickle.
* * *
It turns out I have cooked the turkey upside down. Also, Kitty kept hounding me about salmonella because she watched a video on it in science, so I wind up leaving the bird in too long. The mashed potatoes are fine, but there are some crunchy bits here and there because I rushed to boil them.
We are seated around the dining room table, and Kitty’s place mats really do add a certain something.
Grandma is eating a whole pile of green beans, and I shoot Kitty a triumphant look. See? Someone likes them.
There was a minute or two, after Mommy died, when Grandma moved in to help take care of us. There was even talk of her staying. She didn’t think Daddy could manage on his own.
“So, Danny,” Grandma begins. Kitty and I exchange a look across the table, because we know what’s coming. “Are you seeing anyone these days? Going on dates?”
My dad reddens. “Er . . . not so much. My work keeps me so busy . . .”
Grandma clucks. “It’s not good for a man to be alone, Danny.”
“I’ve got my girls to keep me company,” my dad says, trying to sound jovial and not tense.
Grandma fixes him with a cold stare. “That’s not what I mean.”
When we’re doing the dishes, Grandma asks me, “Lara Jean, would you mind if your daddy had a girlfriend?”
It’s something Margot and I have discussed at length over the years, most often in the dark, late at night. If Daddy absolutely had to date, what kind of woman would we like to see him with? Someone with a good sense of humor, kindhearted, all of the usual things. Someone who’d be firm with Kitty but not rein her in so much that it would squash all the special things about her. But also someone who wouldn’t try to be our mother; that’s what Margot is fiercest about. Kitty needs a mom, but we’re old enough to not need mothering, she says.
Of the three of us, Margot would be the most critical. She’s incredibly loyal to Mommy’s memory. Not that I’m not, but there have been times, over the years, where I’ve thought how it would be nice to have someone. Someone older, a lady, who knows about certain things, like the right way to put on blush, or how to flirt to get out of a speeding ticket. Things to know for the future. But then it never happened. Daddy’s been on some dates, but he hasn’t had a steady girlfriend he’s brought around. Which has always been sort of a relief, but now that I’m getting older, I keep thinking about what it will be like when I’m gone and it’s just Kitty and Daddy, and then before long it will just be Daddy. I don’t want him to be alone.
“No,” I say. “I wouldn’t mind at all.”
Grandma gives me an approving look. “Good girl,” she says, and I feel warm and cozy inside, like how I used to feel after a cup of the Night-Night tea Mommy used to make me when I couldn’t fall asleep at night. Daddy’s made it for me a few times since, but it never tasted the same, and I never had the heart to tell him.