this is the compliment i give debo about which she is the least enthusiastic.
this is, of course, why i repeat it sincerely and often.
unlike me, debo's face isn't emotionally incontinent. debo's natural facial register is one i would characterize as defaulting to "sweet." garebear and i can rock a pretty mean thunder-face, but i honestly cannot say that i've ever seen my mother do so. even her angry face is essentially sweetly sad, as though, when she is angry with me, she's assured of my eternal goodness and just temporarily saddened that it is not on full display.
i mention this because it is connected to my complimenting her rack.
i don't remember when this started, only that i'm pretty sure the first time was on skype and it felt a natural enough thing to say.
her rack was looking nice. i felt she needed to know. and so i told her. and the array of emotions that flashed across her face was astounding. a cocktail of confusion, pleasure, horror.
confusion that such a word would be uttered in her presence. pleasure at such a compliment. and horror that a daughter of hers would ever say such a rude thing.
(for the record, garebear is more appalled by all this than my mother, which is a bit rich coming from the man responsible for the "wouldn't want to lose them" group text incident after her 2014 mammogram.)
remember: i grew up in a household where it was impolite to sing at the dinner table. (a circumstance for which my mother was wholly responsible and which she is now constantly reminded of whenever i am in residence and we are at the dinner table and she reaches for her incessantly dinging phone.) there were very clear cut ways to be. compliments were encouraged, absolutely, but within a realm of propriety that resolutely excluded the subjects of breasts.
having complimented my mother's rack once, however, i felt the need to do it again. and again.
always sincerely, mind you. i was not loose with my praise. on certain days her rack did look better than on others and my compliments were withheld until such time.
but i noticed and, in noticing, i felt she should know.
having birthed me, it seemed she was owed this kindness.
whether she considers it a kindness i'm not so sure. every time i say it- which is more infrequent than it is perhaps appearing here- the array of emotions still flies across her face. confusion, pleasure, horror, and also, i've now noticed, a small slightly flirtatious giggle, as though she's pleased i've taken the time to notice, proud that i should think so, and yet cannot bring herself to verbally admit as much.
i've recently begun to wonder what would happen if i switched up my words. what would happen, for example, if i said, nice tits...? would debo disown me? would i see her thunder-face? or would this be an exciting new frontier in the ongoing adventure of discovering the things i can and cannot get away with saying to my mother now that i am grown up?
i imagine someone would have to have died. and that we would have to be drinking. rack will suffice for now.