I’ve certainly made my share of odd requests of Shelby.
“It would mean so much to me if you would just let me massage your feet—you know, with my face.”
“Okay, that’s my entire hand. Now, let me sneak the vibrator in there . . .”
“All right, I’ve got my cock in her throat. You can start dripping the wax on her ass.”
But you could’ve knocked me over with a feather when Shelby made the most bizarre request yet.
She wanted me to meet her mother.
“Sweetie, your mother hates me,” I protested. “Remember how she found my blog? Remember when she told you I was evil?”
“Meh, that was a long time ago. She doesn’t hate you anymore. She doesn’t even read your blog.”
“Uh huh . . .”
“Anyway, she says she wants to meet you. Look, do it or don’t do it, its no skin off my ass.”
I promised to think about it.
Shelby’s mother doesn’t come to New York very often. But her sweet daughter, knowing how much the holiday means to her, arranged for the two of them to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
That, at least, I would forgo.
I did agree to meet them for dinner afterwards—though I had my reservations.
“Maybe it would be better to meet for drinks,” I suggested. “You know, it’s over fast and there are fewer things to throw.”
“No drinks,” she said. “Just dinner. We’ll go out, we’ll eat and then I’ll take her back home.”
“Okay, dinner,” I bartered. “But let’s make it pasta. Nothing that requires much prep time.”
“Fine, pasta,” Shelby grinned.
We settled on Patsy’s.
I was the first to arrive. I sat at the bar, pondering possible conversation topics.
Shelby’s mother is only four years older than me. Surely we would have some things in common.
Shared memories of Grand Funk Railroad or Donnie and Marie, perhaps? Wistful recollections of rotary pay phones?
Shelby smiled from the door when she saw me.
Behind her stood another version of Shelby, plump with middle age.
“Oh my goodness, you look just like your mother,” I said, kissing Shelby on the cheek.
“Hee-hee, I know,” she smiled. “Mom, this is Jefferson.”
“Nice to meet you,” she said.
“Nice to meet you, too, Mrs. Winston,” I replied, taking her hand and bending to kiss her cheek. I noted the dark hair, pale skin and small brown eyes behind narrow glasses. “It truly is a remarkable resemblance.”
“You should see my sisters,” Shelby said. “We all look alike. They are just fat.”
“Oh, stop!” her mother scolded.
Cute banter, I thought. “Shall we take a table?”
As we looked over the menu, I asked about the show.
“There were camels in it!” Shelby exclaimed. “Real live frigging camels!”
“We had great seats,” her mother said, reaching for her camera. She handed it to me. “See, look at these pictures; we were very near the orchestra.”
“Yeah, those guys get some volume,” Shelby said. She turned to me. “What do we usually get here, honey?”
“Oh,” I placed the camera on the table and returned to the menu. “I think you like the fettuccini Alfredo best. Why don’t we get that, family style? And shall we get a salad, or pizza?”
“You have to try the pizza, Mom. It’s so much better than what we get at home. It’s like, real pizza.”
“Whatever you two decide is fine with me. I don’t live in New York.”
Shelby dropped her menu. “Mom, you don’t have to live in New York to know what you like on a pizza.”
“Well, it comes with cheese and basil,” I interjected. “Shall we keep it simple—maybe have pepperoni?”
“That’s fine with me, whatever you two decide.”
The order was placed. Iced teas were brought out.
“The pictures look great, Mrs. Winston. Oh, this is a good one of the storefront. And what’s this, a reflection of the Radio City sign?”
“Yes, didn’t that one turn out good?”
“Well, Mom is taking a photography class.”
“Oh, you are? Is it film or all digital?”
“Jefferson knows about photography.”
“Oh, it’s digital. I use this camera, actually.”
The pasta arrived, with the pizza in hot pursuit.
So far, so good, I thought. We’re eating and the conversation is nice and safe.
“Do you want more of this bread, Mom?”
“No, I’m not that hungry. But that’s great bread.”
“I ruv ip,” Shelby said, chewing.
“So, I was saying, if you like history, Jefferson, you should visit our town. It’s one of the oldest settlements around there.”
“Really? Well, I would enjoy that. Are there many nineteenth-century structures?”
“Yes, and some even older.”
“You’d like it, honey,” Shelby added. “And it’s so frigging quiet, not like here.”
“Yes, New York is so noisy. I don’t see how you stand it.”
“I’m used to it now,” Shelby said. “Though the fire trucks at night still piss me off. And this one snores!” She punched me.
I shot a glance to Shelby’s mother.
Was she imagining me in my bed with her little girl, snoring as sirens wailed outside the window?
Did that thought flash her mind forward to things she has read in my blog, envisioning her daughter tied down or eating pussy or blowing men or . . .
“Well, I think the noise would send me over the edge.”
Good; maybe Shelby’s mother isn’t cursed with an overheated imagination.
After dinner, I walked them to the corner to catch a cab. Shelby hailed one right away.
“Goodbye, sweet, nice to see you, however briefly,” I kissed her. “And you too, Mrs. Winston.” I bussed her mother’s check.
“Bye, baby,” Shelby called, stepping into the cab behind her mother. “And thanks.”
I waved a hand. “It’s nothing, it was fun.”
I waved as the cab drove off.
How funny, I thought, crossing the street. Age proved to be a smaller barrier than the traditional one guiding manners when meeting a friend’s parents.
My mama raised me to refer to my “betters and elders” as “Mister” or “Missus,” and in this context, I deferred to Shelby’s mom as being in that category.
At that table, Shelby and I were the kids. Her mom was the mama.
In the cab, Shelby’s mother turned and asked, “Why did he keep kissing my cheek?”
“Mom,” Shelby laughed. “It’s a New York thing.”
Meeting Shelby’s mother put a human face on the older pervert her daughter dates. She could see that, all evidence to the contrary, her daughter was seeing a fairly normal fellow.
And he has become the longest dating relationship in her young life.
Just before the holidays, Shelby turned twenty-one.
A few weeks later, we celebrated our first anniversary.
My jailbait girlfriend is legal.
This marks the beginning of the final year in which she will be half my age. From now on, she’s gaining on me.
We marked the occasion with a movie and dinner out. She had saved “Memoirs of a Geisha” for me. I finally found a place with crepes she likes.
That night, we came home and stripped. We made drinks.
I had a bourbon, of course. Shelby found Ketel One in the freezer.
“Baby,” she called from the kitchen. “What do you have to go with vodka?”
“I’m afraid I’m out of juice, but there’s tonic water.”
She poked her head out the door. “That’s fizzy and tastes like ass.”
“I don’t know what else I have, honey.”
She scrunched her face, and looked back into the kitchen. “Meh, I’ll find something.”
Cabinets opened and closed. “Ah ha!” she called.
I listened to her mix a drink.
She emerged with a tall glass of bright red liquid.
“What did you find?” I asked.
“Vodka and Kool Aid,” she sipped. “Tropical punch flavor.”
I smiled and raised my glass. “Cheers, Shelby.”