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Maleficent

NORA: Truth or dare, Mommy?Unknown

LUCIA: Truth.

NORA: Do you have a boyfriend?

LUCIA: No.

We sit at Joey’s on Burrard as Nora bites into the last of her slider burger and lip smacks the ketchup off her fingers.

NORA: Do you want a boyfriend?

LUCIA: I didn’t for a long time but now I think I might be interested.

NORA: It’s that guy. Your boyfriend is Addy’s Dad.

LUCIA: Rob? You’re picking out Rob for me? Nice choice. He’s talented, he’s a hard worker, I love that guy so much but no. We’re friends. I work with Rob. Mommy doesn’t date the men she works with.

NORA: You’re hugging in the pictures.

LUCIA: That’s for the show.

NORA: You said he was handsome.

LUCIA: When?

NORA: You were talking with B.

LUCIA: Oh yes, he is handsome, don’t you think so? B was wondering if he had a girlfriend, you remember? And I said he did.

I chuckle and sip the rest of my water, smoothing down my bike helmet hair with the tips of my fingers.

LUCIA: You hear everything, I have to remember that.

NORA: Maybe you should have a boyfriend.

I stop chewing my ice for a moment to look at her with something I hope doesn’t read entirely astonished. I muster up my best casual.

LUCIA: You think so?

NORA: Yoshi has a girlfriend now. (the single parent of her friends)

LUCIA: Yeah, I just met her. She seems really nice.

NORA: I like us just being alone if you ask me.

LUCIA: I like being alone with you too.

NORA: Going biking, having dinner, reading stories.

LUCIA: Totally.

NORA: Cuddling.

LUCIA: We will always do all those things together.

NORA: I don’t want to share because then I will feel like Tartuffe.

LUCIA: How’s that?

NORA: Well…I will feel like the old dog that farts a lot and in comes this new darn ol’ cat…

I lay down my glass, throw my head back and laugh heartily. She smiles coyly. She knows she landed a good one.

LUCIA: Licorice can never replace Tartuffe. They are completely different and we have room for them both, don’t we? Tartuffe is our dear old man doggie. And Licorice is our new little dear kitty.

NORA: With the cone head.

LUCIA: And the short tail.

NORA: Poor kitty.

Now we both laugh. We order dessert. I have to have something sweet after this conversation.

NORA: Well. I don’t want to call him Dad. I have a Dad.

LUCIA: Oh my goodness, Nora, I am not dating anyone.

NORA: I know.

LUCIA: But if I did and even if I got remarried, you will never ever have to call anyone else Dad. Your Dad is your Dad. He is your one and only awesome Dad. Look, Grammy married Stan and I don’t call him Dad. I call him Stan. And I love Stan. Stan is a great part of our family.

NORA: Yeah. He’s a good Poppa. Does mine come with ice cream?

LUCIA: Yes.

Eventually the dessert comes.

LUCIA: Truth or dare, Nora?

NORA: Dare.

LUCIA: I dare you to give me your raspberry.

With great effort, raspberries being her favourite, and only having one…she hands it over. I smile and give it right back.

NORA: Well, you can’t do that. Then it’s a waste of a dare.

LUCIA: No it isn’t. I got to find out whether you love me enough to give me your raspberry.

She smiles.

LUCIA: …there’s a lot of time Mom is alone, you know. When you’re at your Dad’s…

NORA: I know.

LUCIA: It might actually make life even more pleasant to have a boyfriend around. You know. A good one. Someone to do fun things with. We can help each other out –

NORA: Yeah, I know. I KNOW what you’re trying to say.

LUCIA: What am I trying to say?

NORA: You’re trying to say you aren’t going to be so CRANKY if you get to have S.E.X.

Incredulous drop of the napkin. Nora is eight. Eight years old.

LUCIA: What?! Where did you hear that?!

Nora shrugs. Then smiles.

NORA: It’s true though, right?

I look her in the eyes.

LUCIA: Yeah. It’s probably true.

I pay the bill.

NORA: If I could have one wish I would wish that my parents were back together again. The only one it isn’t fair to is me.

LUCIA: I understand. And you’re right. It isn’t fair to you.

Oh man. I sink into my chair and try not to sigh too heavily. We talk through the divorce carefully but with no specifics. I will never say anything unkind about her Dad. We tried everything we could and we are better parents living apart.

LUCIA: You are going to have to trust me on that.

NORA: I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

LUCIA: It’s hard isn’t it? I’m glad we did though. It’s important for me to know how you feel. We learned something about each other tonight. Didn’t we?

NORA: Yeah.

I pay the bill and we do a selfie of what we call “squirrel face”, then put our helmets back on and bike from the movie theatre along the ocean back home. IMG_1076I have visions of Maleficent in my head. I watch Nora’s slender little legs pedal confidently along the bike path. That little intuitive person I am guiding. How do I explain what happened between Maleficent and the king? The wall of thorns. The ripped off wings. The child caught in-between? I don’t. I tuck her in to sleep – my beauty – and pray someday she will wake up and say, “Oh…now it makes sense to me.”

 

 

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3 comments

  1. Jason Goode

    Lovely. Just lovely.

  2. dannie

    beautiful–what a treasure that little Nora!

    1. Lucia Frangione

      xo Dannie and Jason

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