‘Where were you?’ The Nymph is standing in the hallway as if she’s been waiting for me for a while. There is a hint of accusation in her voice. It does cross my mind that her attitude is not totally reasonable since it’s Sunday just after 4pm.
‘At a yoga retreat with Rosa.’ Rosa is my 21-year old daughter and for the last three years we have made it our mother-daughter ritual to go on an annual yoga retreat for a weekend in September.
‘Why didn’t you ask me?’ Peirene blocks my way.
‘Because you are not my daughter. And this is something special I do with Rosa alone.’
I squeeze past the Nymph and head into the kitchen where I drop my bag. Peirene follows me.
‘No, I’m not your daughter. But I always assumed…’
I hear her voice shaking. Oh dear, my poor little Nymph, her insecurity can be quite endearing.
‘Peirene, you are very important to me. And it shows. I spend more time with you than with my husband and my children taken together.’
‘But you never do anything nice with me. Only with them. With me it’s always work work work.’
I have started to unpack the groceries that I’ve picked up from the corner shop on my way home. Spinach and kale and chard and beets with their leaves still on.
Peirene interrupts her self-pity. ‘That is a lot of greens,’ she points out.
‘I bought these for you and me.’ I tear up the chard and kale. ‘Despite your worry that I neglect you, I’ve actually been thinking a lot about us over the weekend. And wondered how we could improve our lives.’ I put the green leaves into the mixer with some water, ginger and a few nuts and almonds. ‘A yoga retreat is not just about stretching and breathing, it’s also about healthy eating. Over the last 48 hours I have lived off amazing soups and green vegetable smoothies.’ I put the mixer on. ‘I’ve come back revitalised. From now on you and I will have a green smoothie each per day and raw vegetable soup for lunch.’ I pour the smoothie into two glasses and hand her one. ‘And we will start straight away.’
‘No way. I’m not drinking that.’ She puts both hands up in defence.
Unperturbed I push the glass in her direction. ‘Come on. It’s your turn.‘
The Nymph picks up the glass between the tips of her thumb and index finger as if it might explode. ‘OK. To do you a favour I will have a sip. But suddenly, I’m rather pleased I’m not you daughter.’
By Meike Ziervogel
Image by Mike Licht, creative commons.
This blog was originally published as part of Peirene Press‘s series Things Syntactical. The Pain and Passion of a Small Publisher on 11 September 2016.