Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick
Brotherly Reflex by Nina Kabatoff
Nina, help me put the food on the table, my chubby mama yells to my bedroom.
I come out wearing a yellow happy face t-shirt, a bothersome training bra and wide-legged jeans.
Mother has white stressed out hair, gold cat-eyed glasses, a polyester flowered shirt and royal blue pants. Roast beef, brussel sprouts, gravy, mashed potatoes and orange tang are placed on the white cotton tablecloth. I sit on the chair facing the window looking at concrete. Our basement suite sees only the lower half of the world.
Why do we only have meals like this when Danny visits?, I ask my mama. Being a latch key kid I was use to Chef Boyardee ravioli and homemade TV dinners.
Hes a growing young man, she says, trying to make up for the institutional food given to my brother after his shock treatments. A letter from Dannys doctor had arrived two weeks before addressed to my mother...
Riverview Mental Hospital Essondale, B.C.
I GIVE MY CONSENT TO USE MEALS AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS EXPLAINED TO ME IN THE BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION PROGRAM
Mama refused to sign the form. She said How could I allow them to starve my son. What kind of mother would I be?
Danny comes into the kitchen from the bathroom after taking his tenth shower of the day. His black hair is slicked back with brylcream and his face has shaving knicks covered up with tabs of toilet paper. His six foot two - 225 pound frame makes any waiter shout - Yes, Sir...how can I help you?
He sits at the head of the table and we both bring our forks to our mouths. I can barely swallow knowing my brother would be leaving us soon.
Nina Kabatoff is from Vancouver, BC