The CuriousPages Sketchbook

Thick black lips and vampires

Yesterday mother met Rhyan. Her first words to him were “You’re an attractive boy”. Then, later in the day, I made the mistake of asking her if my stomach was too big. She was mid-sentence. She broke off and nodded, saying, “It’s disgusting; you look pregnant.” She then continued with her sentence, as though she had made a harmless aside, complimenting someone on a new outfit.

Before the visit, I had been careful to prepare Rhyan for the casual insults of this sort that my mother might make towards him. Ironically, she had nothing but praise for him, and reserved her carelessly lacerating observations for myself.


I had the feeling that Rhyan would get on with mother. The previous evening he had been describing an encounter he had had with a KLM employee at Schiphol airport, Amsterdam. He described the woman as being black, with very thick lips and curly hair. He had asked directions of her and when she replied, he was shocked to hear that she spoke perfect English. He had assumed that because of her appearance, she would be uneducated. This led me to believe that he would get on like a house on fire with my mother, whose favourite catch phrase is, “I’m not racially prejudiced; I just don’t like the blacks.” I have a distinct memory of her from childhood, criticising “the blacks” for the thickness of their lips.

They did indeed get on like a house on fire, but to my surprise, the main subject of conversation between them was vampires.


24 May 2010



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