I don’t believe this.
Amanda’s mother has just driven up to our house in her smart BMW. How does she even know where I live? And why – I suddenly realise – is Amanda not looking more surprised about this?
“Did you KNOW your mother was coming here this evening?” I ask sharply.
Amanda looks a little guilty. “Okay, yes, I asked her to come, all right?”
“Because otherwise she wouldn’t have let me come at all, okay? She didn’t like the idea of us taking a taxi to Mirrors. And she really didn’t like the idea of us taking a taxi back. She said I could only go if I let her drive us both there. You don’t really mind, do you? I mean, I know you and my mom don’t exactly hit it off…”
This is true. Ever since I met my dad, I’ve been invited for dinner at their house exactly twice. It wasn’t a total success, to be honest. So now what we normally do is he takes the three of us kids out for the day – that’s me, Amanda, and our little brother, Nick. The three of us get on really well together, so that works out fine.
It wasn’t that Amanda’s mom was rude to me at dinner or anything. It’s just that being around her REALLY made me aware that I wasn’t raised in the Northern Suburbs. Normally race isn’t an issue between Amanda and me, but having dinner in that house made me super-aware of the fact that the only two black people in the house were me and the domestic worker.
I felt like I should offer to help wash the dishes or something. And I could tell that Amanda’s mom was just as uncomfortable around me. I suppose it must be weird sitting down to dinner with your husband’s secret love-child. So, no, it wasn’t exactly a roaring success.
Kabelo is standing in the doorway gaping at the navy BMW. The driver’s door opens. Amanda’s mom gets out – all stiletto boots, skinny jeans, and bright red trench coat. You can say what you like, but the lady’s got class.
“Good evening,” she says, holding out a hand to Kabelo. “I’m Melissa McBurney…”