Fish and Chips

Every Friday I would ride in the bike seat made for toddlers on the back of my father’s bike to get fish and chips. Sometimes my mother and brother would ride along, with him strapped into the bike seat on her bike. But often it was just my father and I. I liked the ritual of it. I liked knowing what to expect, and what was expected of me; every Friday, we did this. I liked my child seat; I liked occupying a space that was made just for me. It was OK to be that small. There was nothing to grow into and no one to compete with, to move over for. It was just mine. I liked the feeling of hot fish and chips wrapped in newspaper sitting in my lap, and the smell, rising up. I didn’t even mind if they were too hot. When we got home we would all sit on the floor, as a family, in front of the TV, with the newspapers full of food spread out on the carpet. My brother and I shared a portion. We would hunt around the pile of chips for the smallest, crunchiest ones, and eat those first. Those were our favorite. And we tried to get into the spirit of eating TV-style, which we were told was a treat and a luxury. But it was the news, back when the news was a man in a tie with short, tidy brown hair, speaking in a composed, indecipherable monotone. His words were big and long, and ponderously strung together. Just a man’s head and torso, relaying things that sounded serious and important. My parents’ reactions would verify this: both the gravity, and that there was something to be gleaned from these cryptic ramblings. I took the fact I had no reaction at all apart from confusion and boredom, and a wish that this man would take animal or puppet form, as proof there were two worlds: parent and child, kid and grown-up. And there was still so much about this other world I had yet to understand. It felt like maybe I never would.

Published by msdeer

I am an interdisciplinary artist, slightly incognito here.

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