The image of a jar of lemon curd and 15 minutes? What would you write? This is what I came up with at my writer’s group meeting on Thursday, and was lucky enough to read it at an open mike night that same evening.
“Lemon Curd, July 1992.” It was my mother’s entry. Mrs. Rapps – Preserves Class 13. First place.
Mrs. Rapps. My mother. She hadn’t dropped the last name after she and my father divorced. I encouraged her to. I begged her to. I was extremely upset I wasn’t able to.
He wasn’t a nice man, my father. Well, he was. To me. To Mr. Evans, the butcher. To Mr. Drew, who sold us fish and chips every Wednesday after football practice. To Ms. Sharpe, my sixth form teacher.
But not to my mother. Never to my mother. And I don’t think he realized it. That it wasn’t normal. It’s scary what a man doesn’t know about himself. It’s scary what a daughter can know about him. It’s scary what a wife refuses to know about him.
He didn’t beat her, he didn’t cheat on her, he didn’t keep things from her. But he didn’t care, either. There was silence. And there was screaming. There was no middle ground.
She washed the dishes, vacuumed the house, did the laundry; every day she was dressed in heels and a skirt. My mother. The doormat. She gave up her life for him. And he left her. Without a word and without a backward glance.
She cries herself to sleep. She washes the dishes, she vacuums the house, she does the laundry, and she still does it in heels.
And she makes prize-winning lemon curd.
I like to think it’s her version of lemonade, but I’m not sure if she realizes what he did to her. I’m not sure if she realizes what she did to herself.