Recently I flew to visit my parents. Southern California in January is like a Mediterranean island compared to northern Minnesota. There's winter, and then there's WINTER. The jet stream delivered the coldest temperatures in years, but I knew by the time it whooshed east and north, it wouldn't cause much of a stir. 30 degrees feels like a heat wave after twenty below zero.
I picked oranges and tangerines from trees in the yard and squeezed fresh juice for breakfast. The avocado season was near its end, but there were plenty of pebbled green fruits to savor. The supermarkets offered jicama, globe artichokes, poblano peppers--foreign fruits to sub-Canadians.
Flowers were blooming everywhere, attracting industrious honeybees and hummingbirds. Fig trees had shed their leaves and were awaiting pruning. Ice plants suckered like drunken sailors, their green, fleshy shoots crisscrossing haphazardly.
After I'd adapted to seeing green everywhere, I was struck by how much I am like my mother. She loves to read and her genre of choice, now that's she's in her 90's? Romance!
We went to the used book store at the library and bought paperbacks that we read and then exchanged. I read them like textbooks, looking for plot points, character development, head-hopping and hooks. She read for pleasure and escape.
Two years ago, I decided I would no longer fear the finger-pointing of my family if I wrote steamy sex scenes.
I don't have to worry about my mom.