Good morning Mom.” Jennifer Jackson yawned widely as she appeared in the dining room where her mother Rose was seated at the table reading a newspaper and enjoying her morning cup of coffee. Rose looked up from her paper.
“Good morning sweetie,” she said. “How was your sleep?”
Jennifer yawned again and ran her fingers through her tousled hair as she headed towards the coffee maker on the kitchen counter. “I slept great,” she said. “Is there coffee in here?” she added picking up the stainless steel pot.
“Indeed there is,” said Rose. “Help yourself. You want some toast or something?”
Jennifer found a mug in the cabinet and filled it with steaming black coffee. “Not yet,” she said. “I have to wake up first.” She walked over to the table and sat down, brushing a stray lock of hair out of her eyes.
“Fun party last night?” asked Rose.
Jennifer nodded, smiling. “Kendra throws the best parties,” she said.
“Were there a lot of people?” Rose wanted to know.
Jennifer shrugged. “I didn’t count,” she said. Me and Alan and a bunch of our friends from school. Maybe 15 people altogether.”
“Everybody behaved?” said Rose.
“Oh totally,” said Jennifer. “And I’m definitely not going to tell you who didn’t.”
Rose grinned. “That would be you then,” she said.
“I was perfectly well behaved,” said Jennifer, taking a sip of her coffee. “Bobby on the other hand had one too many drinks and had to bow out of our monopoly game because every time he rolled the dice he’d go directly to jail no matter what he rolled. So we auctioned off his property and made him sit in the corner wearing a lampshade. Because it isn’t a successful party until someone’s wearing a lampshade.”
“True enough,” said Rose. “I’ve worn a lampshade or two myself over the years in order to save a dying shindig.”
Jennifer looked at her mother doubtfully. “You’re kidding right?” she said.
“Definitely,” said Rose.
There was a brief silence between them.
“What is it about parties?” said Jennifer. “People do things that seem so hilarious at the time and then when you think about it the next day they just seem ridiculous and silly, but you know you’d totally do them again under the same circumstances.”
“It’s the best part of human nature,” said Rose. “The part that knows how to have fun with other people.”
“It was Kendra’s birthday party as you know,” said Jennifer, “so her boyfriend Dave bought her a saddle. He made us blindfold her and then he put the saddle on his back and we sat her on it, still blindfolded, and there he was on his hands and knees galloping around the living room wearing a saddle, with Kendra on his back. And I was thinking what, are we like five years old? But at the same time I was laughing so hard I was crying and it was actually super sweet and romantic because if you know Dave and Kendra… well, that’s just exactly the way they both are.”
Rose chuckled. “I can see how funny that could be, in the moment,” she said. “Was it a nice saddle?” “It’s maybe the nicest saddle I’ve ever seen,” said Jennifer. “I’m actually jealous. If my boyfriend gave me a saddle like that I’d marry him on the spot.” “Well, I will keep that in mind, in case your boyfriend ever asks,” said Rose.
Jennifer laughed. “My boyfriend is a starving artist,” she said. “The only saddle I’d ever expect to get from him would be a handmade ceramic one to put in the curio cabinet that I don’t have.”
“Everybody gets a curio cabinet eventually,” said Rose. “But usually not until they have at least a few curios to put in it.” She picked up her coffee cup. “Speaking of starving artists,” she said, “how is that going?”
Jennifer paused to consider the question. “Good,” she said at length. “Almost too good.”
“Too good?” said Rose. “How is that?”
“Well, you know,” said Jennifer. “I had this plan for my life, which did not include getting serious about a guy till I was like 30 at least. I thought I’d go to university and do all the crazy things that university students do like party way too much and have bad relationships and make stupid mistakes and maybe even get a degree eventually. And instead I met Al.”
“Making stupid mistakes is way overrated,” said Rose. “You want my advice?”
“Surprisingly,” said Jennifer, “yes, I do.”
“The most important thing,” said Rose, “don’t rush it. There’s always tomorrow. ”
Jennifer smiled. “That’s very profound,” she said. “Indeed,” said Rose. “Anything else I can do?” “Sure,” said Jennifer. “I think I’m ready for that piece of toast now.”