Jan 11 2011



Lara had spent the better part of the day with her mother attempting to find an appropriate comforter for the guest room.  The first thing Mrs. Franklin had said upon entering the room the night before was, “Oh, that’s positively ghastly!  You expect me to sleep on that?”

To which Lara wanted to reply, “I hope you smother yourself in it,” but she held her tongue, which was the nicer, smarter thing to do.  It was not nearly as satisfying though.  Instead she replied with, “It’s just the comforter I used to have on my bed when I lived at home.”

“Oh dear, it’s awfully old then, isn’t it?  Probably infested with dust and bugs.  Honestly, Lara, sometimes I wonder where your head is at.  Your sister used to replace her guest bedding at least once a year you know.  And she had that humidifier for me.  I can already feel my skin drying out.”

“Mother, this is British Columbia.  It’s quite humid here.  Nadia had that humidifier because she lived in a very dry climate.”

“Well, at least she thought about me.”

This went on for some time before Lara was able to convince her mother that one night with the old, ghastly comforter wouldn’t hurt her, and they could go shopping the next day.

So they had gone shopping the next day.  All day.

IKEA’s comforters were all too “creative”, Sears had one nice one but it wasn’t hypoallergenic, The Bay was asking too much for “outdated designs”, Zellers was just out of the question as was Wal-Mart because that’s where “blacks and browns” shopped, and JYSK was just too odd sounding for her mother to consider buying anything from even if she liked some of the designs.  Finally her mother settled on a rather over the top luxury quilt from Pier 1 Imports, about two minutes to close.

Lara fought through a severe headache and an empty stomach to say, “Alright, mother, if this is the one you want, let’s go get it.”

Mrs. Franklin gave a little head wiggle and said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Lara couldn’t help it she rubbed her temples.  ”Nothing, mother.”

“Ha!  As if it means nothing!  You expect me to pay for this don’t you?”

“What?”  Lara was too tired to respond properly.

“Don’t say ‘what’ dear, it makes you sound stupid.”

Lara looked at the price tag for the comforter set and found that it cost over two hundred dollars.  She knew that her mother had more than enough money to pay for ten of these comforters without breaking a sweat, but she also knew there was no way Mrs. Franklin would ever offer to pay.  And there was no way she’d consider a cheaper one as they’d been out all day already.

Too tired to fight or even care, Lara brought the comforter up to the front desk and whipped out her MasterCard.  She thought to herself in a rather unhappy tone, “And she’ll expect a replacement quilt next time too I suppose, even after I fork out the money for this one.”

Things did not get any better after that.  Lara had to work that night so she suggested that her mother stop by the restaurant for some free food if she were hungry, to which her mother replied that “A good daughter would cook her mother a meal.”  So Lara cooked a meal to which her mother wrinkled her nose and asked, “what is this, then?” after almost every bite.

And then the icing on the cake came, and Lara could see the look of triumph in her mother’s eyes as it occurred.  Her mother was always at her happiest when she could find the thing that Lara was most happy about and make it seem like the biggest load of tripe ever believed to be in existence on the entire planet.  It was after dinner and right before Lara was heading out to work.  Her mother followed her around the house to make comments on her outfit, her makeup, and her hair, and was ready for one final insult before Lara walked out the door when she noticed what was hanging on Lara’s wall.

Her mother jumped back, placed a hand over her heart as if she was frightened to her very core, and put her most angular and disgusted look on her face, “What on earth is that?”

Lara turned to see her mother had spotted the very intricate and very special wall hanging her boyfriend had given to her.  It was a beautiful traditional style Indian wall hanging that he’d brought her back from his trip to India a few months back.  Lara could not risk her mother finding out about her boyfriend, and especially about the fact that he had Indian heritage so she simply said, “It was a gift, mother.”

Her mother laughed shrilly and said, “Surely, dear, this is the kind of gift you hide in a drawer somewhere?”

Lara just walked out the door, but before she slammed it behind her she could hear her mother say, “It smells like bad perfume!”

What it really smelled like, Lara knew, was incense.  Beautiful incense, likely a sandalwood or something similarly spicy.

She smiled as she remembered her first meeting with her boyfriend.  He ran the teashop across from her townhouse complex, and when she had wandered in there one day, he was the one to serve her.  His nametag said his name was Pallav and his beauty immediately struck Lara.  He was a tall man with lovely brown skin; thick eyebrows, deep shiny brown eyes, and a fashion sense that made Lara suspect he was gay.  But then he introduced himself as Pallav Cocker, to which Lara gave a small giggle, and Pallav made a rather rude joke about his cocker and her and so Lara figured he must be straight.

This first interaction was nothing special – it was along the same lines as, say, flirting with the cute cashier, or dropping a few innuendos to your sexy mechanic.  But when Lara’s craving for some strong tea returned the next day, and the day after that, the flirting developed into a more playful “are you available” type of test.  Lara couldn’t explain the craving for strong tea so she blamed it on the handsome Pallav Cocker.

After about a week of drinking strong tea and flirting outrageously, Mr. Cocker finally asked Lara out for, of all things, a drink of strong tea.  Lara promptly agreed and they had their first date right there in the teashop.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Except for the bit about the rock, that is.  I forgot to mention how the rock ties this whole thing together!

To be continued next month…

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