Saturdays were Jeremy’s favorite days. Saturday mornings were those times when he felt no pressure to get anything done or the need to go anywhere. The time was totally his to do with as he pleased and on most Saturdays he chose to sleep in all the way until 6 A.M.When his body told him that he had been in bed long enough,he would defy that knowledge and lay there with his eyes closed and fight his bladder demanding that it be emptied. He would think about the morning meal that he was going to cook for himself.
He always considered it a morning meal and not breakfast because he never ate like other people. His work day meals consisted of donut shop coffee and a cold blueberry muffin or a mid morning bagel from the deli near his work. Lunch was a mid afternoon health bar on the way to or from one meeting or another. His evening meals were never in one place or at a scheduled time and he missed a lot of them because he was so wound up in his work. By the time he realized that he hadn’t had his evening meal it was usually passed eight at which point his mother had always admonished him never to eat.
Whenever he tried to get a snack or a sandwich her image would always appear and the voice he remembered and loved so much would advise him that he would get fat and lazy by eating after eight.
His mother had always been punctual and demanding of their meals. Breakfast, lunch and supper had to be served and eaten at the proper time with the proper dietary foods. Due to religious teachings they fasted on Sunday and donated the cost of their Sunday meals to a local homeless shelter. Their religion did not require them to fast on Sundays but it was suggested that they do so on the first Sunday of each month for health and charity reasons. Jeremy’s mother decided that if it was good for one Sunday, it was good for every Sunday.
As a result he never felt that he ate breakfast, lunch or supper. He ate meals. He ate when he had time and what was quick and ready. He continued to fast on Sundays and send money to a homeless shelter. He only allowed himself one cup of coffee on week days and none on Sunday. He drank eight bottles of water every day except Saturday. On Saturday he drank coffee.When his bladder finally won the battle he would hurry into the bathroom, satisfy his bladder, wash his face with cold water and put three handfuls of cold water over his hair and head. He had no idea why it was three, it just was and if he did only one or two it would bug him until he found a bathroom to throw that third handful of water over his head.
After his water ritual he would make exactly twelve cups of coffee measured to the exact ounce of coffee and the exact drop of water. While the coffee was brewing he would climb back in bed and continue the planning of his Saturday morning meal.On this particular Saturday, Jeremy was struggling with the menu that was flipping page by page through his mind. Nothing looked good or sounded good or maybe on this particular Saturday he didn’t want to take the time.
He struggled with the menu for a while and finally gave up and went back to the kitchen for his first cup of coffee. He poured the coffee into his favorite mug and, as always, his mother came to mind. He remembered how she hated those silly frilly cups. They were for the Queen and her afternoon tea. Coffee was to be drank from mugs and she had given Jeremy his for his twelfth birthday, the first year he was allowed to drink coffee. Twenty-nine years later he still used the same mug but only on Saturdays. He never took it out of the house and it was always hand washed and returned to the exact cupboard shelf and place that his mother had assigned to it.Jeremy never bothered to dress on Saturdays and this morning it was not different. He leaned back against the counter top in only his underwear and sipped his coffee. He was frustrated with his inability to decide on a breakfast menu. He opened the door of the refrigerator and looked inside. His eyes focused on the egg container and suddenly his menu and day was planned.
He would boil one egg for breakfast the way his mother had taught him and then he would prepare his mother’s favorite meal for supper. He hadn’t prepared her meal in a long time and he knew she would be disappointed in him but he knew she would forgive him if he prepared her meal and dressed properly for the occasion.
He removed one egg from its carton and carefully placed it in a small pan of water. He sipped his coffee and watched the flame on the stove curl around the pan. As the water began to form bubbles he went over his mother’s instructions. How long to boil the egg, how to cool it and how to spin it to make sure it was hard enough.The water boiled bouncing the egg in the hot bubbles. He sipped his coffee and read the embroidered quote that had been carefully hung on the kitchen wall many years before he was born. It was from Victor Hugo and stated his mother’s philosophy of life.
“Life is a flower of which love is the honey”. He had heard it stated over and over, always preceded by his mother’s words, “now remember Jeremy”. The egg danced in the boiling water while he sipped his coffee and read the words over and over.Finally the timer informed him that the egg was ready and he carefully placed the pan with the boiling water and the egg under cold running water. His mother’s directions rolled through his mind. When the egg had cooled he picked it out of the water and held it with two fingers. He always felt as if the egg were his mother and he apologized to her for presenting himself to her in only his underwear. He laid the egg on the counter and spun it like a top. Spinning the egg was the final test, the final direction that determined how good the egg would be.
The lights from the kitchen reflected from the egg and two bright eyes and a long smiling face appeared in the egg and he heard his mother’s soft voice telling him how good the egg would be. He spun it again and asked her if he could have more coffee.“Sure,” she said. “It’s Saturday, you know I always let you drink extra coffee on Saturday’s.”
He spun the egg again and told her of their dinner date that evening. The egg seemed to dance with excitement but in his excitement he had spun it to hard and it danced right off the counter. He tried to save his mother but he couldn’t. He was too slow, too hypnotized in his mothers face and voice. The egg fell towards the floor. He heard his mother’s screams. They were the same screams that he heard so long ago when he had pushed her off that cliff.“Yes, mother,” he smiled. “I will dress properly for our date this evening.”