A Whole Breakfast by Becky Robison

A Whole Breakfast

Little did he know she’d have her mother’s runny-egg hips that drip hot and congeal every time she shifts. Little did he know she’d have her mother’s taste in music. Little did he know he’d ever come back here, let alone play a gig, that he wouldn’t die in his prime, overdose or car crash, something sharp and glamorous. Little did he know her mother would stay put, though he should have guessed, the whole time he’d known her she’d been slow to make decisions, a molasses mind, grasping for what she wasn’t sure she wanted anyway. Little did he know that he was staring. Little did he know she existed — the girl, that is — her mother had never said, he’d only heard rumors, which he’d hoped were lies. Little did he know it was an eighteen-and-up show. Little did he know teenagers were still allowed in bars — though he’d spent plenty of time in bars when he was younger than her, her mother hanging on his shoulder, or someone else’s shoulder, but mostly his shoulder, planting syrupy kisses on the twitching corner of his mouth. Little did he know eighteen could make him sick to his stomach. Little did he know that sickness was named obligation — he kept drumming and blamed it on food poisoning, bad diner fare at the last rest stop.

Little did she know he was her father — her mother mentioned him sometimes, complained, reminisced, absentmindedly and unexpectedly while driving, or in the middle of housework, but the stories seemed too ridiculous to be true, wild parties in abandoned warehouses, touring the state in a crowded station wagon. Little did she know that mothers weren’t always mothers. Little did she believe she had a father — there were no pictures or letters, no tokens of affection left behind. Little did she know her mother hadn’t just whipped her up in the kitchen one day with a secret family recipe. Little did she know he was anything other than a bald, has-been musician who couldn’t stop staring — which wasn’t a surprise, since the only men who ever stared at her were has-beens twice her age. Little did she know the bands would be such shit tonight, though she should have guessed, it was Tuesday, and it was a has-been town anyway. Little did she know she had runny-egg hips. Little did she know she was making him sick. Little did she know she was dancing in spite of herself.

Little did he know he’d approach her between sets, shoulders askew and smile crooked, trying to recapture the swagger of his youth. Little did she know she’d follow this pathetic man to the bar — maybe he would buy her booze. Little did he know she was too young to drink — or little did he care, or both. Little did she know gin was so disgusting. Little did she know she’d drink it anyway, trying not to pucker like a child. Little did he know he wouldn’t know what to say, and that he’d end up saying the same thing he’d said to her mother: “Little girl, you’re a whole breakfast.” Little did he know her mother had told her that story, such a ridiculous story, that she’d finish the pick-up line, sick to her stomach: “Side of bacon and everything.”

 

A Whole Breakfast

 

Becky Robison is a karaoke enthusiast, trivia nerd, and fiction writer from Chicago. A graduate of UNLV’s Creative Writing MFA program, her stories have appeared in [PANK], Paper Darts, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere. When she’s not working her corporate job or walking her dog, she serves as Social Media and Marketing Coordinator for Split Lip Magazine.

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