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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Just Call Me Angel
It’s a big house, and quite lovely, the new Floridian home of our adopted Aunt/Fairy Godmother, with a kitchen that looks like it could be the set of a cooking show. This was early 2019, when my sister still lived down in Florida, before she’d move back North with her family. Her kids, my nephew and toddler niece were running about. Anthony, playing hide and seek with me, running from my hugs and kisses, while Charlotte would run to me for hugs and kisses.
People assume I’m snobby at times because I don’t much go out of my way to get to know people. So at a birthday party for my Aunt, I’ll chase around the little ones all day, both because there’s no one I want to spend time with more, and it keeps me from having to mingle and small talk with strangers. It truly takes quite some time for me to reach a level of comfort around people, and I very much hate small talk.
My Mom made an angel food cake. Though the cake itself it’s not what she’s famous for… it’s the butter sauce. A creamy, sweet as hell, warm buttery dream that you pour over the light and fluffy cake. It’s so delicious, you could drink it, not giving a shit if you woke up with diabetes the next day. It’s a classic family favorite. We salivate at the sight or smell of it.
A woman, who, I believe was my Aunt’s new neighbor, was singing the cake/butter topping’s praise. Not surprisingly. That sauce is golden perfection. Makes life worth living, it’s that good. It’s a rather simple recipe, my Mother explained to her. In an unprecedented gratitude, the woman rejoiced, “thank you for sharing your secret family recipe!”
“Well,” my Mom said, “it’s not exactly a secret. It’s in a cookbook.”
“Wait, wait,” I chime in, “by cookbook, you mean the 1996 Bayview Elementary School PTA cookbook?? Cause I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. There are only three copies left in the world, one of them is in our house, and the second is at Aunt Nancy’s. God knows where the third copy is. But it’s definitely not on Rachel Ray’s book shelf.”
My Mom and I laughed and laughed. Charlotte was running around laughing too, because, she just always laughs when other people do. The other woman seemed a little taken back, perhaps by my smarminess.
Our house frequently had fresh baked goods, mostly because, wait for it… I love baking! And I would bake all the time. I know, I know. People have a hard time seeing me in a domesticated role, but I actually love cooking, especially baking, and I even like cleaning due to some sort of side effect of OCD. Additionally, I’m great with kids because I have a wild imagination and I’m a story teller. My cousin Brittany once deemed me, “a closeted homemaker,” when I was helping her clean and organize after her daughter was born. Her husband, Bobby, a great guy and true sweetheart, was supervising someone doing work on their boiler at the time in the basement. Brittany was tending to their daughter while I was cooking and cleaning. Bobby, with a stone wit, told the boiler guy he was Mormon and we were his sister wives (Brittany, though my first cousin, has dark hair and doesn’t resemble me). The boiler guy said, “you’re my hero.” Later, when Bobby told me this I belly laughed. Classic.
When I visit Long Island, I usually stay by my non-sexual soul mate and (gay) best friend, Jimmy’s. His couch is one of the few places I actually get a good rest besides my own perfect mattress. In the morning, I make breakfast. He’s not a very good cook, my Jimmy. Jimmy is notorious for having a lot of scented candles that are scented flavors that are not actually flavors like, “cuddly sweater.”
“I think we’re both going to die alone,” Jimmy says when we talk about our dating lives and I only disagree to add, “well, we’ll always have each other.” Though Jimmy and I are about just as happy as we could ever be, watching re-runs of our favorite sitcoms and making trips to Target together. For some reason, I mark ‘spending quality time in Target’ a measurement to how much you are bonded with someone. When we were teenagers, we made frequent trips to Target after smoking bowls in the parking lot and just wandering. We always bought something, but we never had much money. Still, browsing the aisles, people watching and whispering sarcastic remarks to each other was fun as hell to us. That’s how much I love Jimmy’s company. Even the mundane is entertaining with soulmates.
A few weeks ago, I very excitingly gave him a tea pot for his apartment. “Um… you know I literally never drink tea. Tea is disgusting hot water. You got that tea pot for yourself.” “I did! And I even brought my own tea!”
I like waking up at Jimmy’s house too. When I originally moved out of my parents house, I would have never guessed that I miss having company in the mornings sometimes. We barely talk. He drinks coffee. I drink tea. We put on the news or re-runs of sitcoms. But there’s something else to really enjoying someone’s company without speaking all the time.
I once picked a drunk Jimmy up from a bar after a gig I did on Long Island, since I was going back to his apartment to crash there. Fidgeting on the couch with a blanket to get comfortable, a red eyed Jimmy goes, “Lori, why are you so weird?” I started laughing. “You’re the one who chooses to be best friends with me.”
“I love you, kid.”
“Love you too, Jimmy. I’ll see you in the morning.”