One afternoon after school I get a reprieve from my teenager’s attitude and she allows me to take her clothes shopping at American Eagle. Sure I almost lose consciousness and she tries on every pair of jeans and but we’re spending time together and that’s what’s important.
And then she lets me pay for everything, which is really more than any parent has a right to ask. And I didn’t even ask, she offered.
“You go pay and I’ll keep looking,” she says. Looking at what, didn’t you already try on all the inventory? I ask, but not out loud because I don’t want to rock the Titanic.
We leave the store and I decide to take a risk.
“Hey, you want to gossip?” I ask her. I’m excellent at gossip because I know lots of shit about everyone and am not afraid to make things up. You can totally get away with that if you add “I think” at the end and question mark your nose a bit.
“No,” she says, almost before I finish the sentence.
“Aw, come on,” I nudge her. “Like I can tell you that this guy at work is really cute and you can tell me who you think is cute.”
She stops, mid-street and looks right at me, eyes not rolling even a bit.
“Don’t say anything like that to me ever again,” she warns.
I’m a little startled by how strongly she feels, but I take another crack.
“Why not? It’s fun. I mean, I still think daddy is cuter, so don’t worry about my leaving him or anything.”
She sighs. Why does she have to be the one to school me in everything?
“It’s not fun for me. I don’t want to gossip with anyone in my family. I gossip with my friends, not my mom.”
We walk home in silence. I’ve certainly been told.
And to make things even worse, there’s no cute guy at work.