A burst of static bursts from the intercom into my open car window. The bank teller’s voice zags a crack across my stony, focused concentration, “Lucy, is the canister in the slot?”
Canister? Slot? Then I look to the left and see that, yes, the canister is there and I confirm its presence to the teller. In the rearview mirror, I glimpse cars stacking up behind me. Smiling, I offer, “I didn’t hear it come back.”
There are things the teller doesn’t know about me, can’t know unless I tell her. Like explanations for why I’m holding up the drive-through line.
Two Wednesdays ago, my daughter, while I talked on the phone, placed a bowl of one of her kitchen concoctions on the table next to my elbow. She tapped my shoulder and pointed at her presentation. Her ensuing hand gestures distracting me, I winked at her and waved her off. She joyfully glided away, a slight grin peeping from the corners of her eyes.
Between mm-hms to mimic attentiveness to my caller, I licked the back of the spoon, smoothing away the vanilla-colored substance to reveal a strip of silvery reflection. ”Mmmmmm,” I hummed, which my caller took as a vote of concordance and, thus, monologued on.
Half-listening, I scooped a helping of deliciousness into my mouth. My child outdid herself. Spoonful-by-spoonful, I downed the scrumptious treat, scraping the sides of the bowl.
As soon as I said “Good-bye,” my lovely daughter whisked into the room. She looked in the bowl. She looked at me. “Did you eat it? All?” she asked.
Compliments gushed about the sweet sustenance she placed before me; and right when I needed an afternoon snack, too, to tide me over until dinner. I delighted in rehashing the details of every bite. I asked her what was in it. I insisted she make a second batch for the rest of the family.
“But Mama,” she interrupted my fawning. “What did you think that was?”
“Some kind of pudding or tart filler or custard,” I answered, believing I’d made a pleasing guess.
“That was face cleanser. The recipe was in The Girls’ Book: How to Be the Best at Everything. I brought it to you because I didn’t feel like washing my face right now.”
My daughter inherited this edge of trickery from my mother, who, when I was 5, told me that if I ate my chicken wings for lunch, I would be able to fly. As soon as I nibbled the last of the golden flesh from the bone, I went to the yard and leaped from the roof of the well’s pump house.
The bank teller, of course, has no knowledge that I recently (and voluntarily) consumed facial scrub or that I once threw myself from the heights to test my wings before nap time.
When I enlighten her that I didn’t hear the canister arrive back on my end of the pneumatic pressure tube, she pleasantly returns my smile. “Lucy,” she gently says, “you haven’t pressed the SEND button yet.”
Things happen for a reason. A head injury acquired from jumping off of the pump house roof, compounded by the effects of devouring skin cleanser, muddies my ability to function in the bank drive-through. They say I have no one to blame but myself, but my mother and my daughter both know the truth. The bank teller, however, unaware of these unfortunate events, will continue to believe that Facebook on my phone distracted me from my financial affairs.