We sat in the operations room waiting… we could hear the sound of silence… minutes passed as hours… Finally, we got the signal, the one that we all agreed on. Our commander stood up carefully, walked slowly and opened the door. Our spy was on the other side, the spy gave the commander the paper with the information we needed and received the money for betraying their own country… Everyone in the room was anxious, dying to know what was written on that paper… Our commander opened the paper, smiled and said: "It is STUFFED ZUCCHINI ".
Yes, what you read was correct, the operation room is actually our living room, the commander is my mother (for those who read the first three chapters this would be an easy one for you!) and the spy was the maid of our neighbor (who in this story I will call Mrs. S.) . My mom has been working on this case for over a month, she did extensive research on discovering who was the weakest link in their house, and she figured out that it was the maid, she had three kids in schools and her husband was a sick person who cannot work, all of them living in a one room house…. Well, I wish that DRAMA was correct, but the maid was the weakest link because simply she was a greedy person who is willing to sell her own country for a little amount of money. The agreement was clear, she tells us what is the favorite meal for Mrs. S. and my mom would give her some money.
The deal was successful and implemented perfectly, but some of you might wonder, why is my mother so anxious to know this piece of information. Mrs. S. has two sons who are in their thirties, and the words spread about their intention to get married. If history has taught us ONE thing, it would be that the best way to get a groom is through getting the approval of his mother ( at least my mom's history mentioned that! ) .
"I will send your brother to get all the ingredients of stuffed zucchini and at noon we will visit her."
"Mom, you are crazy… why are we doing all of this? I do not even like any of her sons…" I said.
"It does not matter, if she approves you, you will like him later."
"Can I at least know which one you are aiming for, because apparently, I have no say in this matter, I will just get married !!!"
"Again, it does not matter. Anyone would be good." She answered while giving me THAT look. The look that means that I should be grateful if I ever get any man to marry me. You might think that my mom was desperate.. you are wrong, she was BEYOND desperate… For her, being a fat girl means that I will never achieve anything in my life, and by 'anything' I don't mean work, education or success, no, I mean marriage and kids. For mom, getting married and having kids ( including one male kid at least!!) is the ultimate goal in life.
My brother got the stuff, the plan is as follows: My mom will prepare the meal, because I do not want to be a part of this and for the main reason which is her belief that I will ruin the whole thing since I was crazy enough to choose studying in university rather than learning how to be a perfect cook. We will visit Mrs. S. and tell her that I made the meal, I will stay by her side acting extremely polite, shy and 'marriageable', she would love me and in a month or two I will be Mrs. S.!
I did not feel that my mother was cooking, I felt as she was disabling an atomic bomb, everyone in the house was tense, not because they wanted me to get married, but because they wanted to get over my mother's obsession and desperate need to see her overweight girl get married, as if they don't know that even if I got married, a new obsession will come up!!
The best way to describe my mother's face at that moment is to remember history books, the chapters that discussed hunger, famine, catastrophes, etc. Think of the pictures of women with their children suffering and praying… this is the exact way to picture my mom's face!! As if Mrs. S's sons were the last two males on earth.
"Instead of sitting next to me doing nothing, go and start deciding what to wear." She said to me, sweating and moving like an angry bird.
"What is wrong with what I am wearing.", I asked innocently, I never
thought that these words will wake up the monster in my mom (believe it or not, inside the monster my mom is there is another monster!!!). The spatula fell off her hand, she started shaking and I was sure she was about to have a heart attack.
"Ok, Ok!!" I said, trying to control my voice tone, walking BACKWORDS as if someone would shoot me.
"I will go to see what I can wear for this once in a life chance."
"Thank God you started getting it!" my mother said, I wanted to answer back but with her 'medical' state, I preferred not to.
On my way to get out she said:" Call you friend, what's her name? The one who dies her hair blond and wears green lenses all the time."
I called my friend, it is good to have someone by your side in this kind of situation. She was very busy with her work and family problems yet she came, not because she loves me, but because she is afraid from my mother(as all my other friends), she did not want to be on the black list, she is on the brown list now(one list before the black one) and she was hoping that by coming and supporting me to find a groom she might go back to being on the dark blue list. Mom has many lists, any friend who gets the highest evaluation from my mother will be on the dark blue list (the best of the worse), they have no chance on being on the green, yellow or white list because simply they are my friends, and that is a crime!!
When I finished dressing, me and my friend went out of the room to find my mother standing there with the stuffed zucchini dish in her hands, she was not being ready for a visit, she was getting ready for the Olympics…. With tears almost falling from her eyes (I have never seen her crying actually, I think that she had the organ of tears removed surgically when she was getting her training with the aliens… OFFF!! Go back to previous chapters and know what I am talking about!!!)…
"I am so proud of you." She said. Well, wait till we come back, I am sure that this pride will vanish …
"Are you ready" she asked.
I wanted to say 'yes' but I was afraid, so I pretended that I forgot to wear perfume, I went to my room acting anxious and then came back. My mother, me and my friend headed to the door when my mother asked while looking at my friend, disgusted!
"What is she doing ?"
"She is … she is coming with us… mom, it is not polite to bring my friend just to dress me up and then send her home." I answered, YES, I said this in front of my friend herself, my friends have been insulted in every single way you could imagine by my mother… so, there dignities got immune…
"And is it polite if she steals your groom." My mother answered with her accusing eyes focusing on my friend.
My friend remained silent, she tried to answer once and that was the reason of being on the black list… she decided not to re-live that horrible experience again.
"What? What do you mean?"
"I mean that if she comes with us, she will take the groom from you, and all our work will be worthless…. Bottom line, don't make me angry, say 'thank you' to your friend and let's go up before the food gets cold."
I could see the signs of relief on my friend's face, she was set free… before saying anything, she kissed me and ran for her life….
We went to the fourth floor, where Mrs. S. lives, and my mother knocked the door. I could see that she was giving me one final look to make sure that everything is fine and to send me a silent message that I would better do well.
The maid opened the door, she avoided looking at my mother, she acted if she does not even know her, that filthy betrayer!!!! We went inside while she announced our arrival with her loud voice.
My mother and I have our own was of communication around people, we can have complete conversations without even saying a word. It is something that my mother has trained me to do in the Aliens camp… ( If you are wondering what is Alien camp then allow me to say: GET A LIFE). Mrs. S. was sitting in the middle of the living room, raising her head up high as if she were the president of our country, wearing two necklaces that do not match, a number of bracelets and holding her cup of coffee in her hand.
My mother put her happy mask on(which she rarely does!!) and went towards her to give her a kiss. Mrs. S. was not an easy person, I think she and my mom got the same training, but I think that my mom got the advanced one!! She gave me a look and told my mother firmly: "She needs to lose a lot of weight."
It was clear that Mrs. S. knew the reason of us visiting her, and she did not hide that, she was rude enough to give comments on what the girls should work on to be married to one of her sons.
"She will lose the weight and she is ready to change." My mother said in a begging voice, a voice that I heard for the first time, away from being sarcastic, I felt really sad being in that situation, I felt that we were hungry people begging for a piece of bread. Even if we were, we were not alone. The living room was filled with mothers and daughters competing over the grooms.
"My daughter prepared this meal for you, it is her favorite, I hope you like it." My mom said while giving the stuffed zucchini dish to her, she held it, gave it a look and then asked the maid to come and take it.
"Put it next to the cake that Rose brought with her. By the way Rose, your cake is delicious."
It was not so difficult to know who Rose was, simply because she smiled as if she had won the Noble prize while all the other girls and mothers showed their sad and agony for not being complimented on their dishes.
Rose's mother stood up and said " I am so glad that you liked it, please let me go and cut you another piece."
"No." Mrs. S. said, or let me put it in the right way, ordered!! "I would like to taste one of the stuffed zucchinis that you brought." She said looking at me.
We stayed calm while the judge gives her decision. My mother was sweating, all the other women praying for us to be eliminated, even though they did not consider me much of a competition since I am overweight, whatever!!!
She looked at the miserable chosen zucchini, smelled it and then took a bite. Chewing that bite was one of my mother's longest moments. At the end, the verdict was ready.
"Good, but it needs some salt."
All the other women smiled, some of them had tears in their eyes, one of the contestants is out of the competition.
You can tell my mother that she is a bad mother, that she had never achieved anything in her life, but you can NEVER think about criticizing her cooking. She stood up with anger all over her face, she was about to start screaming and fighting, but then she looked at me, let me be clearer, she looked at my body, smiled and sat down again.
Don't worry about me, I got used to how mom looks at me, being judged according to the way I look not based on the real person inside is something that became a daily routine.. I even reached a state where I became one of these people criticizing and BULLYING myself.
The visit was over. My mother excused herself to go the toilet. After a couple of minutes we were out. When we arrived home, she went back to the operations room!
"I spoke with the maid and asked her to get me all the details about the two women who came after us, we must know our competition well. Can you believe that she asked for twice the amount of money that she took the last time. She is a real greedy person, but we need her."
I pretended not to hear her and went immediately to my room trying to run away from the silly analysis of everything that happened. When I reached my room and steps away from being free, the question was asked.
"Did you hear what she said about your weight?"
I took a deep breath, counted till ten, reminded myself that no matter what she is my mother, revised the lesson I wrote myself about all the people facing political catastrophes, famines and earthquakes and then answered.
"Yes mom, I heard her. You know well that I do not need anyone ELSE to remind me, I have you. I have to go and sleep now."
I slept…. Crying….
Three days passed, my mother was not able to sleep, eat or even watch her favorite t.v. shows (OH!! My mother's t.v. shows and their role in destroying my life are later to come!!! Not now!! Not in this chapter!!)
The day has come, the maid told us that Mrs. S. was about to visit two families and propose for their daughters on behalf of her sons. We were not able to know who they were since the maid told us that Mrs. S. suspected that she was giving some information to the contestants. In addition to that, my mother was sure that we were not the only ones getting information from the maid, a betrayer like her can be a double agent and even a triple one!!
I wanted to go out with my friends, but HELL NO!!! how can I enjoy my time while I can sit and wait miserably!!!
We got the first bad news, she visited the first house, which clearly was not ours…. My mom had to call the experts in order to analyze the reasons behind this failure, if Mrs. S's sons got married to other girls, there are other mothers to impress and we need to evaluate ourselves well to be ready for them.
At the end we received another call, it was Mrs. S. !!!
My mom was literally about to have a heart attack (not one of those that she fakes!!!). I have to admit that I was curious to know what happened, and I was eager to win.
She walked slowly towards me, and spoke like one of the programs shows were the time of elimination comes.
"OH MY GOD!!! " I said to myself " She has never called me 'dear daughter', something miraculous must have happened."
I stood up, did my best in order not to sound sarcastic.
"Yes dear mother."
"Mrs. S. called, she said that she visited two families for the marriage and both of them agreed."
She stopped for a minute, thinking that I will faint, then she gave me a huge smile and continued.
"But she said that she recommended you to a friend of hers. She will visit us with her son. I am so happy for you, of course we have to stick to our word and start working together on a better diet."
My mother was happy!!
He was not educated, not handsome and not funny at all!
My mother was extremely happy!!
"He proposed to you…" She said with tears falling down her eyes.
But this was not the complete sentence… that is what she said ' He proposed to you, FINALLY!!"
Is it that impossible for someone to FINALLY propose.
"Oh, she is so shy that she cannot even answer. She is beyond happy!" she said to my friend, who was sitting next to me holding my hand in order not to be on the news in the next day ' A young woman kills her mother after she drove her crazy.
"I do not want to marry him." I said calmly.
My friend let go of my hand, a message that meant ' you are on your own'.
My mother almost had a heart attack ( or let me say one of her acting episodes).
'What do you mean?" she yelled. "The guy and his family are outside waiting for an answer, if we tell them that you do not agree they will go to another family and will engage another girl, this is your only chance."
"What chance are you talking about?" I yelled. "I have a bachelor degree and he did not finish high school. I am a sociable person and knows nothing about a simple talk…"
My mom looked at me and said in a way that showed that she has tried to stop herself from saying this " Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? Who will marry a fat girl?"
I was not surprised at all. I was waiting for this sentence since the beginning of the conversation. After twenty seven years, you might think that I got used to the STIGMA of being fat, but sometimes it hurts. I fought that tear but lost.
"Well, bottom line, I will not marry him and if you don't go and tell them that then I will."
She left, my friend hugged me out of love, but her hug turned to be out of fear when she my mom came back. My mom has always frightened all my friends, they could lie to the policemen, hide a dead body of the neighbors or even work as spies for the enemies, but facing my mother was not something they could do.
"You lost your chance and good chances rarely come…. " and then she said the sentence that made me regret not accepting to marry that guy and made me know that it is not over….
"But don't worry my dear, your mom will help you find a groom."
My friend tried to collect all the sharp things from my room before she left in order not to give the chance to commit suicide… She said her goodbyes as if it were the last time….
But it wasn't !!! And there were many other attempts to HUNT a groom… but enough for now.. write to you later….