I was popping corn from an air popper when I started to laugh.
Recently I’ve had memories of good times with my mother that come rushing back at the strangest times. I’m popping corn to eat while watching a black and white movie. It’s not Alfred Hitchcock, Sammy Terry or Perry Mason but it is black and white and it’s late.
We used to go to double feature drive in shows and stay up until late in the night knowing full well we had to go to school the next day, and she to work. It didn’t bother her one bit to stay up late with total disregard for the need for sleep. It makes me wonder if she, too, fought it tooth and nail. It’s 2:41 am and I’m fighting sleep just as I’ve done for years.
We often shopped at Target. As we left there was the treat of popcorn. It was the type of popcorn with so much salt and golden colored ‘butter’ that the bag should have come with a cardiac medical warning. Taking life and health in our little hands, we traded a quarter for a red and white striped bag, then gobbled its contents down.
You have to understand, there was glee when we eyed the last few bags of popcorn at the snack counter. There was glee and apprehension. The store announced its closing time in five minutes. They’d been telling us that for 15 minutes. We can almost taste it, but tasting it came with a consequence; it was time to go home.
Popcorn; the taste before tears.
Our greasy little fingers pulled popcorn from the bag while sitting in the back of a sports car specially pimped. She loved her cars. Fast car or not, there was no where to go, everything was closing. We had to go home. I remember one time leaning to the front seat to ask if she too noticed we laugh and enjoy one another as long as we aren’t at home. No reply.
As soon as we walked in the door she changed, and life went from buttery popcorn fun to walking on egg shells. Sipping orange soda turned to masking fear, crafting words to land perfectly on her ears and spare us verbal assault.
She’d work herself up. It would start small and she’d fan her flames by bringing up past wrongs, fact or fiction. Within minutes she was in full rage on two small bodies scared to death of this real, live evil.
Still, I need a good memory out of life with her. I want to remember popcorn at home in the best light possible. I want to remember popping it on the range but burning half of it and laughing about it. We finally got an air popper and filled bags with it to have while watching late night movies. I sat in the middle on the sofa with my sister on one side and my mother sitting fully naked on the other. To answer mother’s question, “No ma’am, I’m not turned on.”
So often we moved from something as innocent as hot, fresh popcorn to insanity within a short span of time. We never knew what to expect. Despite looking in those eyes of hers and seeing crazy, despite knowing how the night would end, I’d like to push that aside and remember the few nights it turned out good and we went to sleep, we just went to sleep.
Popcorn Memories – A Grab Bag of Insanity, October 31st, 2016 – 3:39 am EST