Mom's Apple Pie
This one comes with a trigger warning for child abuse and sexual assault.
This one also happens to be true.
Apple pie tastes the same going up as it does going down. Sickly sweet. That’s not a really pleasant thing to hear, but its true. It’s dark and 28 degrees outside. I’m kneeling on the side of the road, car still running, vomiting into the grass, and I think, “It’s a miracle I didn’t crack sooner.” I stop and look up when I see headlights approaching. It’s too dark to see what kind of car it is. I have this irrational fear that it’s someone I know. Someone might see me here, puking. If they see me, they’ll know something is wrong, and then everything will be wrong. I jump back in my car and floor it. The other car never even passes me.
This isn’t really a story about mom’s apple pie.
Before I pulled over to puke my guts out, I was pulling out of my mom’s driveway, radio blaring, the taste of homemade apple pie still lingering in my mouth. And something else lingering. A kiss. The kind of kiss you’d give your grandmother. A totally platonic, innocent kiss that made me want to rub my lips until they bled to wash it off.
But I don’t do that. No one can know that anything is wrong, remember? I smile, and get in my car. Turn the radio on, pull out of the driveway. I didn’t even start rubbing my lips until a quarter mile away. Half a mile, and my breath starts coming out in gasps. One mile, my vision blurs. One and a quarter miles, and I start speeding. 50...60...80 miles per hour down the dark country road. Three miles, and I slam on the brakes. Pull over. Throw up.
The funny thing is, before I reached that quarter mile, I felt fine.
I remember this time I was working in a restaurant. I moved some napkins and found a cockroach on a table. I’m in a room full of paying customers eating their food, eye to eye with a cockroach. I very quietly picked up a cup, scooped up the cockroach, calmly carried the cup outside, and let it go. I watched it crawl away for 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4, and then I started squealing in terror like a little girl. It’s like all those high pitched squeals stayed perfectly bottled up until it was a good time to release them. Until it was crawling away from me, I wasn’t even scared of that cockroach.
But this isn’t really a story about a cockroach either.
Suppose a mother let her daughter stay in the house alone with dad while she went to buy apples from the grocery store. It’s not like dad’s touching her anymore. He just hugs her a little too long. Kisses her a little too often. His hand just brushes against her, accidentally of course. He only ever touches her by accident.
He has a lot of accidents.
Under the eyes of the law, it’s never the child’s fault if an adult is touching them. It doesn’t matter who came on to who, the adult is the perpetrator, and the child is the victim. Always.
But this isn’t a story about a child.
Maybe it was once, but it isn’t anymore.
This is a story about a 21-year-old woman kneeling on the side of the road, throwing up her mom’s apple pie, and all she can think is that in the eyes of the law, accidentally touching a 21-year-old is consensual.
So I get back in my car, and I drive home.
And next week mom’s making brownies.