Family Date Night

I didn’t know Jeff missed us that much. When the weekends take him away to shoot in neighbouring states of Victoria such as Sydney and Canberra, he comes back home as if he hasn’t seen us in five years.

Meanwhile, I’m here enjoying my blessed solitude, ensconced in the bedroom with my book and my cup of tea while taking mental note of the time before I pick Raven up from school.

I’d miss him, though. But being my mother’s daughter, I don’t naturally subscribe to the outward show of emotions that Jeff freely gives out like farting. He knows this. He gets a kick out of pouring forth extravagant public displays of affection and watching me squirm in discomfort.

But, man, I love my family. If happiness came in a list, that’s my number one right there. They ground me. As a libran who gets carried away with my thoughts and losing myself in myself, they effectively pull me out from my regular reverie by simply asking what’s for dinner. That’s when they give me anxiety.

I mean, my family can’t be all perfect.

Neither am I. And so when Jeff invited us for dinner out, I jumped on the chance of not having to cook. We drove up to Fountain Gate to have dinner at Kinn Thai Restaurant where I was glad they finally improved their menu because their last one was too tiny I could barely read it and I have an okay vision. Well, sort of okay vision. My optometrist might respectfully beg to differ.

Anyway, as soon as a table was available on a surprisingly busy Monday night, I knew what I wanted: tom yum soup. Same as last time.

“Medium spicy?” I vaguely heard the server asked, distracted over pictures of food on the menu. I was starving.

“Um, yeah, spicy,” I vaguely answered. A reply which I wasn’t entirely sure how she interpreted because after eating my food, my nose was sweaty and I was ready to breathe fire. Bloody hell.

I have this low-key obsession with candles. Unscented votive and pillar candles which I light up when I’m journaling. I’m running low on my stash and I wanted to make a quick dash to Kmart to grab some more after dinner.

“Can’t you just get it some other time?” Jeff asked. He was thinking dessert but my mind was on wax.

“I’ll just go really quick,” I said, probably much in the same way full blown addicts pop by at their drug dealer’s doorstep.

Well, that night was not my lucky night. With the rest of the shopping centre closed, it seemed as if you had to go to a different entrance to Kmart. I was on the wrong side. The barriers standing ominously between me and my non-urgent purchase was a sign from the universe I couldn’t ignore. Or bypass.

And so I went back to Jeff and Raven who were eyeing this particular claw machine in Tunzafun with big plushies as prizes inside. $3 a pop. Raven wanted to give it a go. Jeff wanted to indulge her. Technology stopped them both as it no longer accepted coins. Instead, you had to buy a Tunzafun card which you top up with actual money. Sort of like a prepaid card. Which would’ve been fine had it not been for the $25 minimum outlay.

That much for a random chance of owning a plushie that probably costs at most $10?! I told Jeff and Raven to abort their plan. I’ll buy her a bloody stuffie myself!

For all my irrationality, I do offer sensible advice.

Jeff decided to take us up the escalator to the Village Cinemas where the machines were still old school. I gave Raven $2 and two options: either take her chance at the claw machine with the probability of coming away empty-handed, or come home with something from any toy vending machine of her choice.

She chose the latter. One of those LOL miniature dolls that come in a plastic ball that you assemble like a Kinder surprise. A very wise, risk-averse decision given the circumstances.

I’m not exactly a risk-taker myself. I reserve that for things that have a high possibility of fucking me up, like marriage.

But, yeah, I guess I got lucky with Jeff. He’s perfect for me. I’d happily go through another round of Russian roulette in my next lifetime for a shot to be with him.

As if all that food we had for dinner wasn’t enough, Jeff still wanted to have pancakes for dessert. Which was how we found ourselves in Pancake Parlour which was right across from the Thai restaurant we’ve just dined in, like, 45 minutes ago. And even though I said I wasn’t eating anymore, against my own volition I somehow still managed to have several bites off Jeff’s order of pancakes drizzled with warm salted caramel sprinkled with almond nuts. It was good, I’ll give it that. But at the same time, diabetes.

*Raven at 6 years old

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