“And girls who look like that–they are noticed.” My mother’s glass hit the table and our plates shivered. Thumb pressed to my temple, I glared at her from under my fingers. She remained preoccupied with wharf below us.
Beneath the restaurant’s balcony, homeless beggars, bikini clad teenagers, and shirtless stoners meandered down the gum-stained concrete.
“Its summer, on the coast. They’re probably on vacation.” I offered, not sure why I was defending scantily dressed strangers. They didn’t have to sit across my mother, or weather the slitted, lizard-like look she gave me for rising to their defense.
“Not an excuse, vacation or no, they’re nearly naked. If you ever brought someone like that home–” She let the airy threat hang between us.
It wasn’t hard to imagine. She would glare down the poor hypothetical girl all night, leave my father a voicemail he would never respond to, and then write me a month afterwards confessing some health emergency I had to rush home for, conveniently away from the hypothetical love of my life.
“I wouldn’t do that to you.” Or myself.
Her frown softened at my concession and she picked at her salmon. “I know, I just worry. Aside from the ugly view, this place isn’t so terrible.” She sniffed and speared a slice of soft fish flesh.
Early evening baked the wharf in golden sun while the waves crashed behind a sea of bright umbrellas. Everyone down there looked like they were having a decent time. Me, my herbed brown-butter scallops were getting cold.