At 7:17am they turned the radio on, listening to clips of news between rushed conversation and the habitual movements of yogurt to bowl, grinds to french press, and steaming liquid to mug.
“Have you ever been to the Toothy Moose?” The mother asked the daughter, rinsing out her to-go coffee mug and leaning against the counter.
“Only one or twice. I was there on New Years.” The daughter mumbled squinting at the label on a container, shrugging, and dumping it into her bowl.
“They just said it was closed down, five citations, they said. Five. And there were drunk people passed out in the bathrooms when they went in to shut it down.”
Her mother looked at her and frowned slightly, the skin gathering in tiny folds between her brows.
“They said the place was supposed to only have 100 or so people in it and there was double, maybe triple, that many.”
“Bastards.” The daughter said sprinkling dried cranberries on top of the cereal.
Between the lull that followed the radio piped up.
—considering changing the last call in bars from 3:30am to 2:00am. Stay tuned for weather and—
“Well, that won’t do anything but backfire.” The daughter cut in.
“I think it’s a good idea, get the drunks off the street and—”
“No, see, what it will do is put them on the street, earlier, around 10ish to get in the way of all the people that don’t want to see them. Remember that time we walked home from the play? When did that end? 10:30? It was some holiday the next day or something and there were drunk frat boys and skanky skanks everywhere. 10:30.”
“It was obscene!”
“Yeah, it was. Bringing us down from our sophisticated night on the town. You want that every weekend? That’s what will happen if they close the bars early.”
“Maybe, what they should do is just wait for someone to get drunk and then drag ‘em in the street to be shot!”
“Brilliant plan, Mom. Though, from what I remember, you might not have thought that was such a great idea on your last wedding anniversary.”
“I wasn’t drunk!”
“The dog vomited on you, you looked in your lap and said, ‘Oh, that? Don’t worry about that, I’ll clean that later.’ And then you went back to shouting out Trivial Pursuit answers.”
“It was a heated game!”
“You should be shot.”
The mother faux-glared at the daughter for a moment and then pulled her roughly into a hug, bowl and all.
“You should be studying Law out in BC with your brother, you little argumentative cuss.”
The daughter smiled softly, took a bite and said between chews, ”well, I learned from the best, didn’t I?”
Leaning into each other, like two dominoes about to fall.
The radio offered —snow today between 2 and 4 centimeters and chances of freezing rain—
And they broke apart. Toppling.
“What? Snow? Now? After weeks of sun? Right when we try to leave? This better not delay our plane. I don’t know why every time, every single time, the weather and the damn—”
“I think it’s because they love us.”
“Halifax. They don’t want us to go.”
“Did you pack yet?”
“Are you planning to pack even five minutes before we leave this time?”
“I’ll pack your passport next to mine, okay?”
“And I love you, Lindsay.”
“But, I wasn’t drunk.”
“Okay, Mom. You weren’t drunk.”
“Of course I wasn’t drunk.”
“Because that would be obscene.”
“Go pack before I smack you.”
The mother went back to filling her coffee mug and listening to the radio. The daughter gathered her bowl, mug, banana, and glass of water in arms and gingerly made for the stairs. Hesitating just outside the door. There, if we could see her, standing in the shadows, you might see the skin around her eyes soften, the hand around the glass tighten, all the signs that something bright and muffled was expanding in her chest. The picture of her mother, puttering, back-lit by the soft light of March. A million mornings like these.
“I love you, too.”
Noah and the Whale – Give A Little Love