Schisandra ripped open the milk carton. She knew it was probably too early in the morning to be this angry but how else was she supposed to feel? Drayden hadn’t been home in weeks and now here he was, sauntering into the breakfast room as if nothing had changed, expecting breakfast on the table too, of all things!
Schisandra yanked open the kitchen cabinet and bent down to search for the tin of oats she knew was somewhere in there — somewhere way in the back in the shadows where she had shoved it last week. Drayden was the only one who ate oats in this household and if Drayden had decided he could just leave wherever he wanted to without saying a word to anyone — anyone! — then fuck him and fuck his oats! And yet, she was still out here ready to cook him breakfast. Like a slave, like a fucking slave, that’s what.
Schisandra felt around for the tin. As her fingers drifted over piles of cleaning supplies and broken kitchen appliances, the cause of all her life’s problems walked through the door with one of her white fluffy towels wrapped around his waist. The mist from the shower hadn’t yet dried from his tanned, unblemished skin. The room filled with the scent of lavender.
“Just because you smell good doesn’t mean I’m going to forget that you –”
Drayden interrupted her. “Aw, come on, Ma –” He swooped in to give his mother a kiss on the cheek but she swatted him away.
“For two weeks I been sittin’ here waiting for you. Been chewin’ my fingers to pieces thinkin’ of what musta become a you. Haven’t had a solid bowel movement in at least six days what fer frettin’ and worryin’ and drinkin’. Jus’ about gave up on ever seein’ ya again. Two more days and I woulda called up the police and told em you was dead!” Schisandra spat out this last word with relish as she pulled out her big mixing pot and filled it halfway with rolled oats.
“Aw, Ma — you know I’d never mean to upset ya like dat.. Jus needed some time away is all –” Drayden sat down at the rough wooden table in the centre of the room and looked up at his mother with a grin.
“Time away? Time away!? Time away from what!?” Schisandra poured half the carton of milk into the pot and began stirring furiously with a wooden mixing spoon. “And you can wipe that stupid grin offa yer face before you answer.”
Drayden tried to twist his face into a grimace but it was too happy to see her for it to be easy. He knew his mother was right, mothers were always right — he should have said something before leaving, or at the very least called her. But how could he have known it would go on for so long? How could he have known that Betty would get so crazy? As uncertain as the whole thing was, it was part of the job. And as much as his mother wanted to know, there were things about his work he would never be able to tell her.
Drayden widened his grimace. “I love you, Ma,” he said.
Schisandra whirled around and smacked him hard on the head with her wooden spoon.
As her son ran whimpering into the next room to staunch the bleeding she went back to stirring his porridge. “And come back with yer clothes on ya little runt!,” she called after him. “Is too early for that kinda sunshine!”