So my Papy is back in town. Yes, I’m referring to my Father. I’ve told you before how he was a character. Haven’t you read my story entitled “Am I the one to be most pitied?” That story was about a love note I had received from a certain Romeo during my pre-teen years. While my Step-Mom thought it was ground to lock me up at the nearest convent. My father on the other hands took the time to examine all the facts, before he finally released his verdict. Of course, I had to reassure him I was not the one who forced the young Romeo to write me. And he agreed with me. So, he boldly voted against my mother’s request. Honestly, that was a first. Usually, even if my Mom started fussing from New years til Thanksgiving, my father would remain silent. At last, in order to get my father to react, my Mom would say: “You see this Passite? You see what I mean?”
Her first attempt would fly right over my father’s head. Papy would keep eating, with his head hung down, his eyes focus on his plate, while he carefully performs a triage. At last, after another annoying plea from my mom, he would finally say: “Mhn!”
You heard me right. “Mhn!” Would be his answer. Then he would keep on eating.
Now you are probably wondering what was the crime we committed. Or, perhaps I should clarify when I said, “We” I meant to say, what my poor siblings, and “not so poor me” committed?
Most of the time it was NOTHING. Occasionally according to her, we were not sitting properly on the table. Oooptidoo!
The most common one was after she forced us to eat the nasty foods the maid prepared, she would asked us “If we wanted another serving?” A simple answer “No thank you” was like saying: “Hell no! We don’t want this nasty food!”
Well! Let me be clear on this one. My siblings probably didn’t mean to say “Hell no!” But, I certainly did. In fact, most of the time, the detestable look on my face was enough to condemn the maid, and anyone who dared talking to me to hell. My younger brother was very good at detecting those historic moments, so he would profit from annoying me. He also knew he would better remove anything throwable as far away as possible from me.
My Step-Mom on the other hands would give me the look, before she asked me again:
“What wrong with your lips I said?”
“I hate cornmeal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Why do you even cook this stuff?” Would be my blunt answer.
After she turns her face toward my Father, expecting a reaction, she would say: “Oh yeah! Passite, you heard your daughter?”
While Papy’s body was seating on the chair by the table, his mind was traveling all the way in Spain, therefore, he apparently did not hear my answer. So the poor woman would have to make another plea to him. That’s when he would force his mind to lend back in Haïti, in our dining room area. He would then give me a passive look, one can easily read on his facial expression “So what?” By then, my lips would be hanging across the table, could hardly be scrapped off my siblings laps.
Which would make it apparent for Papy to notice my discontentment. “What’s wrong with your lips?” Papy would finally ask me.
“NOT-TYING! I would answer. With my mouth still stuff with the cornmeal I was being forced to eat.
“So you understand what I’m trying to say here? My Mom would deliberately yelled just to get a reaction from my father. Perhaps she would hope he would swing his hands across the table and grab a hold of my lips. Unfortunately, this happened only once. And that day, I think it was probably because he hated the nasty food too.
For prior to his explosion, we all heard him murmuring “Chhhrr! Chhhrr!” Which was his way to show his discontentment on the table. Perhaps, when he realized I had beat him to it, he decided to teach me a Lesson. “The honor to rate the nasty food served in this house is mine, and not yours.”
After he had pulled my lips that day, I had to forcefuly restrain myself from saying: “Shuut!You’ve been complaining about her nasty food since the day you got married, with no positive result, about time you let me handle it!’
But, being the angel that I was, I didn’t want risking spilling the cornmeal still stuffed in my mouth on my beautiful dress. After dinner, my older sister and I had some major plan. (I know you want to know what we had planned. So I will tell you. But keep it a secret. We were going to sneak out of the house, catch the tap-tap to the the Rex theater in the ghetto neighborhood, so we can watch Sissi L’Imperatrice, by one of my favorite actress, Romy Schneider.) Of course we were forbidden!!! Why else would we be sneaking out of the house? Gosh! Do I have to clarify EVERYTHING TO YOU! Trust me, it was all worth it!
Ok, so back on the table. I decided to shut my mouth. Besides, like I said, I could not speak anyway. My mouth was still stuffed with the first spoon of cornmeal, and I didn’t touch my plate since. I figured, all I had to do, was to hold it in my mouth for thirty more minutes, by then, my father’s anger would cool off, and if my step Mom even attempted to make me finish the nasty cornmeal, Papy would then say:
“Oh-Ooh! If she doesn’t want to eat, let her be!”
And yes, it occurred AS-I-PREDICTED! I was home free. Didn’t have to eat one more plate of cornmeal!
So what was the purpose of this story?
Well! I said earlier, my Papy has been back from Haiti for a couple of days now. But, now he is so old, whenever he is eating, he falls asleep. I have to wake him up.
“Papy, wake up! You are still holding your bread in your hands, try to eat!”
“Oh-Ooh!” I forgot!” He answered back with a smile.
Before I know it, he is closing his eyes again. So, I have to remain on the table next to him, to make sure he eats his meal. While silently I remind myself, “My Papy was not always like this. Now, he seems to be the child, here I’m the one watching over him; cooking and feeding him.” I’m so thankful for this honor.
All along I hear him whispering: “This food is nasty!” I laugh. Because with his taste bud impaired, he can’t taste anything. So EVERYTHING TASTE NASTY, for him.
When he is finally done, I purposely asked him: “Papy, how was the food?”
“Mchhrr! Mchhrr! Good! Good!” I knew then, he didn’t want to hurt my feeling.
So I just smiled then thought “After all, he’s giving me a taste of my own medicine!”