With my portable cassette player in hand, I walked through the house singing along with my latest favorite song: “I knew a girl named Nikki, I guess you could say she was a sex fiend. I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine.”
“What did you just say?!”
Mama was standing straight as a board, her hands submerged in soapy water at the kitchen sink. Her eyes stabbed me.
I pressed the stop button on the cassette player and asked, “What?”
“What did you just say?”
“Nothing, I was singing.”
“What did you just sing?”
Thankfully her hands remained in the sink.
“Prince,” I answered. “The song about Nikki.”
“Play it back,” she demanded.
I pressed the button with the two arrows pointing to the left for a couple seconds as the machine whined a bit, then pressed the play button again.
…met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a…
“Stop it!” Mama snapped, her tone forcing me to press the stop button. “That word! What does it mean?!”
Mama’s face was getting tighter and I knew she wasn’t happy with me.
“You sing it to me,” she said, dropping her shoulders and looking back into the sudsy water.
“I knew a girl named Nikki I guess you could say she was a sex fiend. I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating…”
“That’s the word!”
“What does it mean?” she asked, her hands diving in and out of the water.
I looked down at the black cassette player and pressed the eject button. The cassette door popped open and I took out the white cassette.
|via google imagies|
"Why don’t you look it up in the dictionary?”
“Oh mama, I don’t wanna! Can’t you just tell me what it means?”
“Christina,” she spat in her thick German accent, sounding more like Greasetina rather than Christina. “Get the dictionary.”
I opened the junk drawer in the cabinet I was standing next to and found a fat, red-covered paperback book with tan pages that I fanned through.
“I don’t see it.”
“Give me the book.” She dried her hands on a towel, tossed it on the counter, and stretched out her open hand.
“It’s M. A. S. T. YOU.” She pointed down at a word while handing the book back.
“It says ‘to practice masturbation’.”
“OK look up that word.”
I found the word and read the definition which included words like “erotic” and “genital organs” and "orgasm”. Words that were hard for me, at 12, to figure out how to say let alone read aloud… especially to my mother.
“If you don’t know what the word means, don’t use it,” Mama said, feverishly washing the dishes again.
Such simple times.