The steam wafting off my tea was beginning to lessen before I finally worked up the courage to ask about the sullen mass on the counter. Its skin was blistered and pocketed, its once vibrant orange reduced to a dingy bronze.
I inquired after it casually, careful to keep my voice level and slightly disinterested. Mom flicked her hand dismissively toward where it squatted on the granite and said nothing, returning her attention to the vegetables she was cutting. I watched as her chef’s knife glided with a quick snap through the thick of the carrots, gradually increasing in speed and intensity until the knife was brazenly cracking through and ricocheting off the marred cutting board.
“So you now have a problem with my fruit too, huh?” she scoffed.
The hostility in her voice didn’t take me by surprise.
“No mom. I was just wondering why it wasn’t thrown away, that’s all.”
She kept her eyes down, glaring at the vegetables.
“Your father didn’t raise you to act like this.”
“My father didn’t raise me, you did.”
I watched her eyes harden and felt my breath catch in my chest as they met mine.
“THROUGH NO FAULT OF HIS OWN,” she screamed. She tightened her grip on the knife as I pushed my chair back from the table.
“Look mom,” I stammered, “I never said it was his fault. It, it wasn’t.”
I was standing now. My outstretched palms felt clammy and I prayed she wouldn’t sense my fear.
“Can we, can’t we put this behind us?” quickly adding before she could protest, “Just for tonight.”