Recently the girl-who-won’t-eat started to take private English lessons with me at her home, ostensibly to prepare for her forthcoming trip to London. I was surprised when she first made the request through her long-suffering mother, and none too pleased about it at first, but I’ve since come to like her very much. She’s basically a sweet, funny, shy young lady who would probably have done much better in life if she hadn’t grown up in the shadow of an over-achieving sibling (not that I’ll ever know how that feels, tee hee!), and plus I could really use the money, which is excellent.
At our last lesson, I artfully brought the subject around to my favourite topic: food, and specifically sweets, as the girl has vague dreams of moving to Kyoto and becoming a confectioner. I asked if she would explain about Japanese sweets – wagashi – to me. To my surprise she went one further, and promised to buy me some Kyoto sweets for our next lesson. “Let’s eat them together, with matcha.” Then to my greater surprise, she called her mother into the room and asked her to join us for the forthcoming tea party. Mum was so gobsmacked she could barely speak; I have never seen a woman look so euphorically happy, surprised and relieved in my entire life. The two exchanged glances, and in an instant, I knew that some longstanding issue had somehow been resolved between them. I am so looking forward to the next “lesson” with mother and daughter (although I wonder, who is teaching whom, and about what?).
Goodness, don’t you think that mother-daughter relations are complicated? I honestly cannot imagine a similar scenario in my home. I’m just pleased if he acknowledges my presence, let alone agrees to have a cup of tea with me.