“It’s nice soap, smells pretty, Fay.” My mother says over Fay’s shoulder. Fay is my mother’s aunt; who now uses a walker to accompany her saunter.
“Ooooh, how nice.” She puts the scented soap to her nose.
“Yeah, you wash your chocho with it. You should always smell nice down there.” My grandmother Yiya cautions her sister Fay.
“You’re sick you know that?” Fay asks then laughs as she draws her attention back to her gifts.
“Fine, you’re right. That soap won’t help you; what you need is a raspberry.”
“Yeah, a raspberry douche. Douche. Douche.” My grandmother just said douche three times as if she were clicking her heels and hoping for home.
“What are you typing over there Stephanie?” Fay changes the subject.
“Are you writing for the book?” Now Lea is part of the conversation. “Fay, you’d love her book; it’s dirty.”
“I can’t handle dirty at my age. I have nothing to do with all those scrumptious feelings.”
“Come and eat.”
This is why there’s never enough alcohol on the dinner table.
"Oh come on. Stop being such a prude Stephanie."
Through the rest of the meal, I learn my grandmother thought she was pregnant when she was tongue kissed by a man, that two years ago my 80 year old great aunt Fay learned what a muff diver is, and that my great aunt Martha was adored by the Mexican guards while she was in jail for trying to smuggle drugs to Los Angeles. "Live it all while you can girls. Life is short. Take a lover. Martha did it all when she was alive, right down to her Indian lover with the strap-on. When she was finished experimenting, Martha left her. The Indian lady went crazy, hunted her down with guns." On the word "guns" Fay makes guns with her thumbs and pointer fingers, then makes the sounds "boom, boom."
"Yeah, the change of life, I don’t care what they tell you, makes you crave a whole lot of boom boom." Oh God. Oh God. Make them stop.
I’m more like my mother than I care to admit. Growing up, she tried to deny her heritage, shrieking when her parents invited her friends to their house while they roasted animals in the yard. "The eyeball is the best part." Then sucking noises as food was licked from fingers. She never wears hoop earrings, even to this day. She’s embarrassed of her heritage, even still. And maybe I’ve learned that, along with a sense of embarrassment for the curves of my body. Being ethnic, even a white redheaded ethnic, is a little too flavorful for some quiet homes in my life. But it’s me, as my mother’s daughter.
On the ride back to my mother’s house, mom thanks us. "You girls made their Christmas."
"Are you kidding me? That was the best Christmas; they made my day." Lea feels a strong connection to my mother’s side of the family. I sat silent, trying to find a radio station playing non-country, non-Christmas, non-classical normal music. I miss New York and all the wannabe freaks.