Wednesday, 11 June 2008


I seemed to be coming down with a bad flu which had been spreading around the VIVA office, so I took the day to rest and recuperate. This morning I looked like a scarecrow that had given up its duties, but by early afternoon, under the constant vigilance of my Aunt Judy, I feel quite fine and am shaping up into some sort of Gladiator.

I woke up at 10am to find on my bedside table, a glass of apple juice and a glass of water, both bundled up on a pretty tray close to a handful of vitamin and medication bottles. My aunt would’ve added to the mix her own massive bottle of Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil Multi-vitamin capsules, but I made sure to put out my own mini bottle upon arriving to keep her happy. After downing all of that, I took a shower and sat working my way through my emails.

“Miss Kara!” she bellowed next to my left ear. Everytime she talks to me, I am snapped into constant fear that I did something unforgiveable, like leaving the toilet unflushed after delivering a baby of pure muscled waste. “I am going to the gym, then I’m going to run some errands. You better have drank three more glasses of water by the time I get back, and have had something to eat. Did you eat anything yet? What did you eat? And tea doesn’t count.”

With my toes curling and scraping at the immaculate white tile flooring, I decided, “Well…I was about to get up and have a bowl of organic oatmeal porridge?”

“Well, alright. That’s good for now. When I get back I will boil some wholewheat pasta and leave it on the stove for you. Martin and I are going out tonight. Will you be alright? Keep warm and CHILD! You really shouldn’t be having your Commandments on the floor!”

For a minute, my heart stopped. I thought, had I accidently thrown her worn gold-fringed bible on the floor? What the hell was she talking about? I looked around frantically, and saw nothing but my own two dry feet.

“Put some slippers on. You say you’re coming down with the flu and yet you’re walking around on cold floors barefooted. Oh, child…”

My Commandments? I pondered this for a full hour, on the breaks I took between each chapter of the novel I was reading. Where on earth did she get that from? I thought, staring at my toes. Then, I realized I had ten of them…?

I watched as she hauled her tiny self up into her maroon SUV, then sped off. I reluctantly walked down to my aunt and uncle’s kitchen to organize my porridge, wondering if she was crazy enough to check her bin’s contents for ripped up Oatmeal Porridge packets. I poked around to see what I’d be eating while here; jars of preserved fruit, every one of God’s beans, peas, grains, nuts and seeds in their respective Tupperware containers, only every single cereal with Bran in its title, vanilla soymilk, teas in every colour (white, green and now black, brought by me for my mornings) and the honey or raw cane sugar that would go with it. Last night for dinner, 6/8’s of my plate was sautéed vegetables, 1/3 of them I was learning of and tasting for the very first time.

I imagine that since she has no children, that that is why she saddles and straddles my back day in and day out to make sure I am constantly sorted. She has been packing me well-thought-up vegetarian lunches for work which include everything from a zip-locked package containing mug, silver spoon and oatmeal packet, to a teabag and mint supply that I could share with the entire 10 member office team. Just before I got the bus home, I had to reluctantly gobble down half of my packed lunch, guiltily binning the rest, because my father, when dropping me off at the house, had wished Aunt Judy good luck, and had been telling everyone in his circle that I was anorexic. When I got home, she would quiz me on what my stomach held at the end of the day, then suggest, Military style (whatever that means, because I suppose there’s no ‘suggesting’ in the Military) that I add this or that to it before bed.

I can only hope that after lazily flipping through her Essence magazine archive, and 90’s copies of Vogue and InStyle, that I fall asleep before she gets home. That way, I’ll only receive a note in the morning as I rush off for work, instead of a full-on dietary discussion and debate.

As a result, that old Sesame Street song has been stuck in my head.

Am I sad to know it? The Street is great, man...

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