Dill Chicken

It must have been 7th grade when we lived on 45th Street in East Sac. Not 45th and J. Not even 45th and H. More like 45th and F, if you know what I mean. Not the Lady Bird street. It was Doc’s house. He was nice enough, unless I ate his Swiss Almond Haagen-Dazs or drank his soda. Even before we lived with him, he would cook dinner for my mom. And me. Bottle of wine for them, candle lit. Sade or Whitney Houston playing on the record player. Or Linda Rondstadt. That was a good one. I like them all, really.

He had guest rooms where his son used to sleep, before his divorce. And a real office where a Doctor sits and charts and dictates and…and…doctors. But I think I slept on the couch when my mom wanted to sleep over there. Then we moved in.

I don’t think he ever really liked having me around. I was just baggage. He tried, I think. I remember ski trips to Tahoe and laughter. Usually at his expense. It was easy to make fun of him. He was the book smart not streetwise type. All up in his brain, deciphering. Maybe that’s why he didn’t like me, I was on to him.

He didn’t have a TV in the living room, that I remember. He only had a tiny TV on the kitchen table. I would sit there after school and eat his Swiss Almond Häagen-Dazs. Not all of it. Just some. Just enough to piss him off. I would only sit there and do that when no one was home. Binge. I would watch Tootie and Mrs. Garret and wish I went to boarding school. I even found out about a real boarding school called Cate and got them to send me their brochure. When they were home, I was mostly in my bedroom. With my boom box and the Whodini tape. I listened to that tape over and over again. I know all the words to Five Minutes of Funk and could rap it for you. And Prince. Purple Rain. New Edition was still the shit (and always will be). And FM 102.5. I was a Top 40 girl. I have a funny story about Rick Dees, someday I will tell you that one, lol.

This was a healthy food phase of life. They did triathlons and 100 mile bike rides. Fine with me, I had lots of time to wander the streets of Sacramento and walk the line between innocence and experience. Do as much as we could while flying under the radar.

I think I had my own phone line. Like my own number. I guess that’s today’s equivalent of a cell phone. I spent a lot of time on the phone with friends and when I wasn’t on the phone, I was with Sara. She was my best friend. She flip-flopped weeks between her dad’s house and her mom’s. I pretty much flip-flopped with her. I was already planning my escape, way back then. Dissociate.

That was the year I had my first kiss on the corner of 37th and J St. We used to hang out at Sidewalk Pizza with some skater boys. He was in 8th grade and I liked him. Took me at least a week to get the courage to let him kiss me. I was so nervous about it…lol. We used to follow those skater boys around East Sac, wherever there was a half pipe in the driveway.

I smoked pot for the first time in 7th grade. I was 11. I was put up a grade, remember? Everyone was at least a year older than me. Always. They were growing up fast, too. Everybody has a reason. I’m not special.

We drank stolen alcohol. Sometimes we drank California Coolers that were purchased for us by my mother. One of us had a party every weekend. Under the radar. What radar? There was even a dance club called the 2nd Level, downtown, for ages 12 and up? Or was it 14? Or 16? I can’t remember. But I was 11 or 12 when we went there for the first time. Sara’s cousin, Forest, took us there. I remember the smell of clove cigarettes. I don’t think our parents knew we went there. Knowing what we did there, I can’t see how someone would allow it. Or maybe I can.

Doc used to make this chicken dish. We called it Dill Chicken. Robbie won’t let me make it cuz he hates it, lol. But I liked it. I liked having Doc cook for us. We usually had yellow squash or zucchini with it, sliced, steamed, with grated cheese, garlic salt, and dill. I learned how to make the Dill Chicken by watching him make it. You take the skin off boneless chicken thighs or breasts, place them in a glass dish. Pour Berenstein’s Restaurant Recipe Italian Salad Dressing over it, then Worcestershire sauce, then soy sauce, and then cover it in dill. Like totally covered in dill. Then broil it. Easy.

My mom kept making that one even after they broke up and we moved out. Each one of them have a food attached to them, in my memory. Doc’s was Dill Chicken and Haagen Dasz. George’s was chili with the red bag of seasonings and Entemann’s Donuts. Darius’ was Mac n cheese for some reason and Larry’s was this ground turkey, rice, and tomato soup that his brother would make for their dogs. It was good. Lucky dogs. My dad’s was fish on the grill in aluminum foil. And Catalina salad dressing with iceberg lettuce and tomatoes and salami and sour dough toast. Or is that my Papa Ding and Gma Helene? Maybe I should make a cook book. Recipes from an Unsettled Childhood, by Annie D.

After finding my blog, my mother first sent me some corrections to some “inaccuracies.” I fixed a couple things, and some of her corrections I thought were bullshit so I didn’t change them. Then she told me my writing is “soulless blather.” Among other things a loving mother would never say, in her right mind.

No soul. Numb. Do you think I am numb to any of this? Not anymore. That’s why I write. It’s your choice to read it.

Then a couple days later she tried to comment on one of my posts and said my writing was beautiful. Bipolar much? Damage followed by expression of love. Welcome to my whole life. Love doesn’t conquer ALL. All she is doing is confirming why I am maintaining these no contact boundaries. Just when the writing was softening them. Concrete doesn’t burn, right?

Blather:

noun

  1. long-winded talk with no real substance. Similar: prattle; chatter

Just so you know, I only write with my soul. My soul is written throughout these passages. My soul is so tired, though. Tired of walking on egg shells in fear for it. Tired of losing myself in exchange for anyone else’s comfort. Tired of pretending like shit didn’t happen and it’s me that’s the source. I was a victim, but I do not live in victimhood. I am a god damn triumph. If you cannot recognize that in these words, perhaps this isn’t the blog for you. You might not be wrong about the blathering. I acknowledge that. I mean, I do think there is substance, but I am fully aware that I am all over the place. That’s cuz I HAVE BURIED MY MEMORIES for 49 years. The timeline of my life isn’t a straight line, in my mind. I’m hoping if I just let the memories all pour out here, eventually we can piece it together. So for now, I will keep blathering. I’m allowed to write the truth about MY LIFE, even when the truth hurts. If you really follow along, I hope you find the thread of love and strength right next to the pain. Those things don’t cancel each other out, you know. They exist at the same time in everyone’s story. Look for it. It’s there.

🖤

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