Tag Archives: bacon

Storytime Dreams

I told Mother this morning that when I grow up, I want to be a protagonist in my own story. She just laughed as she set a plate down in front of me with two strips of bacon, two slices of toast, and two eggs over easy. “When I was your age, it was every boy wanted to grow up to be a firefighter, or astronaut,” she said. “Now everyone wants to be the protagonist in their own story. If everyone was a protagonist, then who would do the work that makes the world go ‘around, huh?”

She always delivered the guilt trip over things like this. “Can you imagine if Ms. Mott wanted to be a protagonist? Who would be left to teach you about reading and arithmetic? If everyone was a protagonist, there’d be no one left to teach you how to be a protagonist!” Ms. Mott was my second grade teacher. She was beautiful, blonde, and buxom, and she was very understanding and patient when I needed help on my math homework.

Mother sat down at the table across from me in our tiny, cramped kitchenette and looked at the eggs on her plate. She sliced cleanly through one of them with the edge of fork; the yolk didn’t run, meaning she’d left them on the stove for too long. Mother always hated when the yolk was too hard. It reminded her of my father. That was why she was so sensitive about my dream of being my own protagonist — father had left her for the exact same reason. “I’m tired of living my life for the betterment of someone else’s story!” I heard him yelling angrily through the wallpaper of our rent-controlled apartment. “My father worked for the union for 55 years, and all he had to show for it was a boring old pension and some ungrateful kids. He would have been happier if he just had his own story. I’m not going to make the same mistakes as my old man.”

The next morning, my father was gone. By the end of the weekend, Mother had cleared out everything that reminded her of him. Well, except for me. I’d always had his pale blue eyes and moppy brownish hair — and now I had his foolish dreams as well.

“Well…maybe I can be an astronaut, and a protagonist!” I tried telling her before biting into my first slice of bacon. The crunching reverberated all throughout the empty hollow of my young head. I waited for the echo to die down before swallowing; there was still no response from Mother. I looked back down at the food in front of me, the food that she had so lovingly prepared for me, and I tried to appreciate each bite as I forced it down. The only other sound was that of Mother trying to fold the newspaper in order to read it properly — our kitchen table was too small these days to rest the pages on.

As I finished up my breakfast, all she said was, “Hurry up. You don’t want to miss the bus.”

69 Love Songs

I awoke to the pungent smell of sweat, come, and Febreze. It reminded me of freshly chopped sweet onions, and it burned my weary eyes all the same. In the distance, I could hear the reverberated decay of stubby, clumsy fingers sliding heavily against nickel-wound strings. I glanced the room, but it wasn’t until I saw the posters on the wall that I fully remembered what happened the night before: Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, Animal House, all the classic male masturbation fantasies. And I’d fallen for the same old shit again.

I grabbed an oversized Boston University hoodie from his pile of clothes nearby, and after I was (mostly) certain it was cleaned, I pulled it on over my head. I was never one for cuddling with strangers that I had just met at the bar, but I wasn’t comfortable leaving the room in nothing but last night’s wrinkled clothes. I squeezed into my jeans and left to find the bathroom.

“I’m sorry; did I wake you up?” he asked, before I’d even step completely of the bedroom doorway. He was sitting on a worn out grey-brown couch, strumming an acoustic guitar.

“Oh, no. No, not at all,” I said, not entirely confident in my ability to lie this early in the morning.

“That’s good. I was just working on a song I’ve been writing. But I figured I should let you sleep.” Then, a carefully calculated pause, as if the idea had just suddenly come. “Hey — would you want to hear it?”

I had the feeling that even if I said “no,” he would have played it anyway, but I didn’t want to be rude.

And when you said that things were different,” he sang, “I thought that we could stay the same / but even on the darkest mornings / you know the stars still light up your name…

I immediately wished that I had been rude. But still he kept singing:

But baby, it’s a brand new world / I hope you’ll make it for me / Baby, won’t you give it a whirl? / Just let your heart go free / and stay with me…

I suddenly regretted hooking up with about 85% of the guys I met in college. Still, here I was at 27, and somehow in my inebriation, I had fallen for the same old crap. Sure — in my sobriety, if you can call the morning that, I could see it for what it was. But apparently I regressed 7 years last night.

“Hey, I should actually get going…” I interrupted, as politely as I could. “I’ve got this, umm —”

“Oh, well — can you at least stay for breakfast? It’s just about done. Do you like bacon?”

Suddenly, the morning after didn’t seem so bad.