Marty was 8 and 3/4 years old when her Mom sat her down at the dining room table,
and then sat in the chair on the other side.
Now, Marty got sat down by her mother for never one single good reason. Oh, they
were good reasons to Mom: either Marty was in trouble or someone had died. She
remembered sitting at this very table, being told that her Grampy died in his sleep.
Marty felt awful sad, since she never got to kiss him goodbye. She remembered after
that. When she was leaving, or staying and seeing someone else go away, she always
waited at the front door and gave and got a goodbye kiss, just in case.
With kids, though, Marty’s kiss depended on who was leaving, or who was staying
behind. She usually hugged her sisters, but only if they were really, really going away.
She didn’t ever kiss them. Talk about sister-cooties. Yuck. She kissed her friends, but
only little kisses, or else everyone would think she was a sissy.
She never kissed boys, not even her cousins. Marty saw Mom and Dad kissing all the
time, and if boys and girls were supposed to kiss like that, no way. Marty made up her
mind when she was only eight and 1/4 years old: Never, ever and ever. Or whatever
else boys and girls had to do. She just didn’t like the idea of catching all of the boy’s
cooties, which were different from sisters’. Really, she thought, she didn’t know why
grownups kissed that way, l like they were the super spitting team on the
Olympics. Double gross, not even something to consider.
Marty remembered, back when she was really a little kid, (only seven years old,) when
she was sat down by Mom because she ran in the house and knocked over a vase. It
didn’t just break, it was smashed to smithereens, as Mom said. When Mom or Dad sat
her at the dining room table, Marty thought over the last few days; maybe if she figured
out what she did, they would see how smart she was, and not sit her down at the dining
room table ever again.
Mom was thinking about something. Mom didn’t look mad at all. Maybe somebody
did die. But Mom cried that time, and sniffled, and used about a whole box of Kleenex.
Her mom sure was pretty, Marty thought. Of all the grownup girls she ever saw, her
mom was about #16 out of one hundred. (Marty knew about out-of-one-hundred from
sneaking some VH1 on TV.) Mom would be closer to the top, if Marty didn’t have to count Cinderella and Snow White and Ariel and all the Disney princesses. She thought
about that time when her family went to Disney World for a whole weekend. Marty still
had her princess dress from that trip, and she knew she was beautiful when she wore it
because Cinderella stopped going to all the tables, and talked especially to Marty, and
told her that she looked lovely. Then, the real Minnie Mouse came in, and she said all of the little princesses were pretty. Who knew more about about pretty princesses than Minnie Mouse? She lives right there.
Anyway, her mom was lovely, like Cinderella said to Marty. She wan ted to ask if they
could go back to Disney World someday, and she would wear a grown-up princess
dress, with her crown. She remembered some little kid at the party telling her it was not
a crown, it was a tiara. Marty still thought of it as a crown; it was covered in diamonds
and gold and stuff. Besides, she knew more than that little kid, anyways. (When Marty
was around other girls, though, she called it a tiara, and crossed her fingers.)
Marty remembered standing in line to kiss each princess goodbye. She hugged each
princess along with her kiss. She knew she wasn’t going to Disney World again for at
least a whole ‘nother year, and she wanted to show all the princesses how much she
loved them, and how much she didn’t want any of them to die, but if one died, at least
she had a kiss from Marty before.
Marty came back to where she was. Mom called it daydreaming, but how could she
daydream if she wasn’t asleep? Maybe Mom didn’t know every single thing.
When Marty looked up, Mom smiled with her eyes, but not her mouth. Mom said that was really kissing with her eyes. Marty made sure her lips were straight, like Mom’s;
then she thought about how much she loved Mom, and eye-kissed her right back. Mom smiled, and Marty relaxed back in her chair. She put her hands in her lap, like she always did at church.
Marty knew she was in for something really, truly extra-special.