Robert needed supplies for his photography class today, so when I picked him up from soccer yesterday afternoon, we headed straight to the newly revamped mall in Scarsdale.
I had taken Florentina to that same photography supply shop a few years ago, when she was in high school and Robert was six. I couldn’t believe that Robert himself was now in high school and almost sixteen.
With a bag full of different kind of black and white films and negative sleeves, we left the shop.
The newly refurbished Pizza Hut looked attractive, and having argued about going and not going before hand, Robert decided that we should go. Hugh was working late, and so we went, just the two of us.
Scanning the menu, we decided that the dinner for two deal, a medium pizza, two salads, soda and dessert was right for us. When the waiter came we told him that we were ready. But, we hadn’t chosen what kind of pizza we actually wanted.
I used to like mine with pepperoni and olives, Robert and the other two have always liked the so-called regular – pretty much what in Italy we’d call Margherita.
“Shall we have pepperoni and olives?” I asked Robert. “Oh, no, you prefer regular, don’t you?” I added
“Why don’t we get half and half,” he suggested.
“Good idea,” I agreed
“Okay,” I said turning back to the waiter. “We are going to have half regular and half….” suddenly I found myself thinking that I was “supposed” to be vegetarian, that I had just completed a detox diet of no sugar, no coffee, no heavy foods, no heat-producing foods like onions, garlic, pepper, no sodas and so on, and felt better and lighter as a result.
No I don’t want crappy pepperoni on my pizza I decided
“And half regular,” I said with a big smile.
“Okay…” he said. “So you want half regular, and the other half regular, right?”
“Right,” I confirmed.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like me to make that all regular ?” At which point we all laughed and while I didn’t go into the whole detox diet thing, I did tell him that I was vegetarian (most of time).
“But I tell you what,” I said. “I’ll have olive on my half.”
Robert and I joked and laughed about it afterwards, and he reminded me of how Andrew would have run with this vignette, complete with perfect accents and expressions imitations, for a while. I knew that had he been there, this would have become part of the family folklore.
Without a moment’s pause to change gear, I went from laughing, to crying big, hot tears. They just rolled out of my eyes, down my face, on to the table, and I was powerless to stop them.
The little appetite I had to start with, was gone and when the pizza came I forced myself to have two small slices, so as not to worry Robert by not eating.
But there was tenderness. Robert held my hand almost throughout dinner, from time to time he stroked my face and wiped my tears.
“And you know what’s on the 31st, don’t you?”
“Yes, it’s your 25th wedding anniversary, and two days later, Bam. I know, it stinks,” Robert said leaning over to kiss me.
And here I want to say something about my son Robert, he is so nice, generous, kind, thoughtful, sociable, considerate, altruistic, creative, and many other wonderful qualities that he shares with his two older siblings, but he is also extremely affectionate.
We walked out of the restaurant together, once through the door he put his arm around me and kissed me many times on the way to the car.
“It was nice to have some quiet time together,” he said when we got home. ” Thank you little Mumsy,” he added as Andrew would have, with the same sounding voice.
May those of my readers who, like me, have lost a loved one to suicide, find peace, even if only a moment at a time.