Things I Will Say to Mrs. B.
When we finally get home and my mom unlocks the car, I leg it up the stairs to my dad’s room and tell him, “Dad, I’ve been losing so much weight these last weeks, maybe soon I’m not gonna be the fat kid any more.”
My dad looks up from his bed, and he smiles like he usually does. Like he wants to grin like a mad dog but he’s too tired to try, even.
“I’d give it until the weekend at least, Jim.”
I can never really tell when Dad is joking. Mom says that’s just his sense of humor, but I reckon it’s dumb. Number one, because most of his jokes aren’t funny anyway, and they’re usually about things that are meant to be serious. And number two, because if a joke isn’t funny, then how do you tell it’s a joke not a lie?
Usually Dad keeps his door shut, and I’m only meant to bother him if it’s something important. I don’t really mind that Dad’s always so tired. He’s run out of steam a bit, that’s what my mom tells me, and it doesn’t matter much because Mom’s always there if I need something. Plus he’s sick—I know he’s sick— but I also know Mom thinks he’s making it up sometimes, because I heard them both arguing about it just a few days ago.
Until the weekend at least, that’s what I’m thinking as I walk down the stairs and then into my room. Mom’s cooking dinner, I can hear her in the kitchen. I shut my door. Now Mom, she doesn’t think I’m fat at all, which is why I can only bring up the whole fatness thing with my dad. You ask Mom, she’ll say I’m crazy, she’ll say I’m a perfectly normal shape for a thirteen-year-old son to be. But I know that once you’re thirteen, you’re not a kid any more. You’ve got to be a man, and you’ve got to do it quick else life just passes you by. By now I’m getting too old for the puppy fat routine. Obviously Mom’s just being nice, because she’s like that, and besides she hates to think there might be anything wrong with me. Still, I’m clearly pretty soft around the edges. (You can tell that just by touching my edges. They’re pretty soft.)
I’ve realized that it’s actually Mom’s fault I’m fat. She is feeding me things all the bloody time, these days, and I wonder if she’s chubbing me up for some reason, though I can’t think why. Unless she wants to be the only one who thinks I’m perfect, like, forever.
Mom can be too much sometimes. I really hope she doesn’t mind when I stop being fat anymore. See, I’ve been carefully watching my food intake recently. When I turned thirteen last month, I realized it was time for me to grow up and be sensible. Not be Mom’s kid any more. First I added two new lists to my List Book. “Things I should eat more of to make me skinny” and “Things I should eat less of because they make me fat.” The second list is much much longer and it’s getting bigger as I read more about this stuff. Turns out there’s fat and sugar basically everywhere. I am also learning to stand my ground with my mom now, whenever she tries to feed me fatty foods. Like last week, when Danny Zhu came over to watch the Sydney FC game, she came knocking in the morning and she wanted to make us pancakes, so I told her straight up, I said, “Mom, piss off, we don’t want your pancakes,” and she did.
I’ve been losing weight fast since my thirteenth birthday. I started keeping the List Book then, as well. I didn’t start doing all of this for Sara B., but at some point I just forgot all the reasons that weren’t her. Especially since what happened at camp—but that’s a different story.
Standing my ground is getting easier as I become thinner, because no one takes you seriously when you’re fat. That’s something my dad told me. And I need to be taken seriously soon, because if I can thin down fast enough, then I’m finally going to talk to Mrs. B. this Friday after school.
I open up a fresh page in my List Book, and I write along the top: “Things I will say to Mrs. B. at the occasion of my thinness.” Underneath I add: “Start—Hi, I know your daughter. We’re friends, maybe more. Maybe I love her. But this is about you. She needs you to be better.”
That’ll do for the first night, I reckon.
Tuesday after lunchtime we have sports day, so all the boys and Mr. Harrison mosey down to the oval for cricket. It’s hot, the kind of hot I hate, the kind where I can already feel the sunburn growing on my neck and on my arms. Usually I go walkabout at this point—as Mr. Harrison put it, I’m the worst damned player in the school and there’s daylight between me and the next bloke—but out here, today, I feel like I’m as thin as I’ve been all my life. Anything is possible, and it’s time I joined in.
I grumble under my hat in the outfield, and the kids don’t let me bowl. They put me down 10th to bat, that’s last, and so I camp out in the stands with the others while they talk all their usual horsecrap. Who pashed who, who got who to show him her tits, who got who to touch his youknow. Tom Burrows is standing up now, telling some story and gesturing like he just caught a fish and It Was This Big.
“I’m tellin you boys, she had nipples like malt balls, this girl, the size of bloody malt balls!”
It turns out he means some girl down at the surf life-saving club, so I start to zone out. I quit the life savers myself, about a year ago, back when we all used to pile down to Dee Why beach every Sunday. One time I was standing knee-deep in surf while Sam Sheffield was going on about something or other, and I couldn’t help looking at the outline of his ribs, how you could pretty much count them all and how there was hardly even an ounce of fat on his whole torso. I was wearing a rash vest at the time, because Mom and Dad both said I’d get sunburn without one, and it was tight like it’s meant to be, but when I was looking at Sam Sheffield, the thing started feeling too tight, unbearably tight, sucked in close against my gut and tubby chest, and all I could manage was to breathe deep and wonder how it looked to all the other kids. That’s when I quit the surf life savers, and that’s when I decided I would only go down to Dee Why beach on my own.
Quitting the surf club definitely wasn’t good for my popularity. Not that I’m, like, bullied or anything. It’s just I always feel like I’m on the outside, looking in on stuff. Sometimes all the boys say I’m gay, because I’m never down at the beach with them and I never have girl stories for them. They would let up completely if they knew about Sara, of course, but I’m sure as hell not going to tell them about all that. No way Jose.
It’s a tired walk back up the hill and then we’re waiting to get picked up outside the Dee Why Elementary. Danny Zhu’s dad comes and gets him right away, so it’s only me and Sara sitting there, which is just how I like it in fact. It used to be just Danny Zhu and me who got picked up, but Sara B. came new to our school this year, so now it’s the three of us. Mr. Zhu is always on time, actually, so most days it’s at least ten minutes of just Sara and me together.
At our school it’s embarrassing to get driven home, because only the rich or the precious kids get picked up, and the rest of our mates sometimes jeer on their way to the bus. It used to bother me, but now I don’t mind, not since Sara started waiting here as well. Truth is the time I like best every day is between 3:00 and 3:15.
What we do is we sit on the fence, which is made of chain links but has wood on the top. The wooden beam is a perfect height for sitting—perfect for her, I mean, because her legs are longer than mine are, whereas I have to jump a bit to get my arse up there, which is not an easy maneuver for a young man of my proportions. So we sit there and swing our legs, and they go clink each time we let them drop on the chain. My mom always turns up Flood Street from the right and Mrs. B—that’s Sara’s mom—she always shows up on foot on the street corner down a ways to the left. She parks around the bend and then they drive home from there, Sara told me.
What I know about Sara is this. She is from Serbia or Croatia or one of them, I don’t remember exactly, and either her dad is still there or he never came to Australia for some other reason. There were troubles there when she left. We call her Sara B. because her last name, which starts with B, is really long and no one can pronounce it, not even me, and believe me I’ve tried. She is new at our school this year, which means I’ve known her two months already. It didn’t work out at her old school but Mr. Harrison wouldn’t tell us why—there are plenty of rumors, though, like some people say that she was kicked out for smoking or having sex or whatever. That was in the South, down Kurnell way. The lads say Sara had a boyfriend from the eleventh grade, but he got arrested at the Cronulla race riots for beating up an Indian kid and they stopped going out soon after that. Tom Burrows thought it was hilarious when he found out, because the Cronulla riots were all about the Arab immigrants, not about Indians at all. “Who the fuck has a problem with the Indians anyway?” Alex Spiros said, in between laughing.
The other girls are pretty nice to Sara, but they’re scared of her as well, probably because she’s tall and skinny and she’s started out with decent boobs already. Sara doesn’t fit in all that well at school, either, but I reckon it’s for different reasons from me. She seems like she’s older than the rest of us somehow. Mostly she seems pretty sad, but I know her better than most people and there are times when she smiles and you can tell she really means it.
She’s grinning like a dumb mullet right now, in fact, because she just won The Game for like the third time in a row. The Game is something we do while we wait for our moms. It’s easy to play, all you do is you sit on the fence facing the street and you throw a little pebble over your head into the empty playground that’s behind you. The winner is the first person to hit the big DEE WHY ELEMENTARY sign, which is twenty whole yards away and high up in the air but it makes the greatest sounding pong when you do actually hit it. We are getting pretty good at The Game, though still some days no one manages to win. One time Danny Zhu hit the sign right away, so we secretly decided never to play it until he had already left.
“Did You Know,”Ana says, with a look on her face that shows she’s thinking mischief, “Did You Know that a woman who robbed a bank in New York City came back a few days later and returned it?”
“Uh-huh,” she says. “Well, she didn’t return it all. She stole a thousand bucks and brought back an envelope with only seven hundred in it, and she wrote on it ‘I stole this money from your bank on Friday. Sorry.’ Then she went to buy a bottle of whiskey, and when she got home the police were waiting for her!”
I heard this one already, but I can’t watch Sara laugh without me laughing too, so my laughing isn’t fake, not one bit. I clear my throat.
“Well,” I start, in my best game show host voice. “Did You Know. The Ukrainian army has trained a bunch of attack dolphins—and last week a few of them escaped. They say there’s now a little gang of attack dolphins lost in the ocean, guns and knives attached to their noses.”
“James. This is bullshit. I’m calling it.”
“No! I swear. Fair dinkum. On My Honor.” I offer her my pinky, and we pinky-swear like usual. “Hey, and you know why they think the dolphins ran off?”
“They’re all out there—these trained bloody killer dolphins—they’re all out there looking for mates! They’re looking for love.”
I laugh and look over at Sara but she’s turned away up the street already. I remember that I’m still holding onto her pinky, with my stupid sweaty needy fatboy grip, so I pull it away. I pretend to look out for my mom while I listen to Sara’s feet going clink, clink, and clink on the wire chain fence.
“Jim,” she starts.
“Nothing. Don’t worry. Sorry.”
Clink, clink, clink and now my mom’s here, 3:15 on the dot, so I grab my bag—which still has the smell of forgotten banana somehow—and I walk over to the car wondering why I thought things would be different now.
Mom is asking me how my day was, and I’m not going to say what’s bothering me, so I tell her instead it was fine. I don’t ask how hers was. Usually Mom asks me about the kids in my class, with the names all wrong half the time, and I’ll answer her as honest as I can without risking anyone for getting in trouble. The parents all talk to each other, see. So, for example, I told her last week that Sally Rourke is sitting on her own, now, but I won’t tell it’s because Sam Sheffield said he saw her pashing Alex Spiros behind the tuckshop one lunchtime and now everyone says she’s a slut. This year especially I’ve got real good at making stuff up for my mom, but the fact is still it’s really hard to tell her about a world with none of the important bits in.
“Great,” says Mom, and then there’s silence as we drive up to the Head where we live. I’m still thinking about Sara when Mom smiles and puts her hand on my hand, and I think how it must suck to love someone so much when you have nothing to talk with them about. We drive on past the beach, and I close one eye then the other, making shapes with the bird shits on the windscreen.
Dad’s door is closed when we get home, so I tiptoe back downstairs to my own room. I wanted to tell him thanks for this book he gave me—it’s like Singin’ in the Rain, which is my favorite movie and has my favorite actor Gene Kelly in it, except as an illustrated comic. I let Sara borrow the book when we were at camp, and she said she liked it but thought I reminded her more of the funny guy, the Donald O’Connor one, than the leading man, the Gene Kelly one. I pretended I wasn’t hurt, but I took the book back right away and I didn’t let her have it again.
I shut my door as well and I pull out my List Book. To the list “Did You Know,” I add a newspaper clipping that my mom left out for me about some Russians who ride bears for a sport. To the list “Things I should eat more of,” I add: lentils? Then I read two more pages of Singin’ in the Rain and throw the book away.
I hope Sara got picked up at an OK time today. You never know when Mrs. B. will come to get her— sometimes she’s very late, but then sometimes she arrives right on three and I wait a lonely fifteen minutes until my own mom gets here. See, after I started talking with Sara on the fence after school, I asked Mom to come at 3:15 every day. I said we had to stay and clean and maybe she didn’t believe me but she didn’t say anything because Mom’s nice like that. So now I wait with Sara every day, and even though Mrs. B. is unpredictable and my own mom never comes late, I get to sit with her for a while every day and think: look at us both, here, discarded and true.
One time, a few weeks ago, Mom drove me to the movies after school. It was 5:30 already and getting sort of dark when we came past the school and I saw Sara B. sitting all alone on the fence still, turning her neck one way then the other, still just waiting. As we went past, I thought I heard the clink and the clink of her feet on the fence, but I know that I imagined it, now. That was the night when I started to hate Mrs. B.
After dinner, I lie in bed and try and think of better things, but all I can picture is Sara sitting there, waiting to be picked up still, with her feet swinging clink on the fence, with her useless mom nowhere to be seen and with me stuck in the car, not getting out, not asking Mom to stop, not even wanting to explain why we should pull over and help.
I open up to the list of “Things I Will Say,” but I don’t know what to add. It’s alright. I have time, still, at least. I have until Friday.
On Wednesdays, we get an earlymark because the French teacher got fired for saying fuck to a student, and the school hasn’t been able to find a replacement yet. I wonder why we bother learning French when there aren’t any French in Sydney anyway, not even one who can teach us.
I still have the taste of almonds in my mouth from lunch. Almonds are very healthy, it turns out, even though they taste like cardboard and they stick in your teeth. We’re doing history, and Mr. Harrison is talking about the Gold Rush—how once the Australian prospectors rose up and chased all the Chinese miners off their settlements. Sara is paying attention when I look over, so I find myself watching the slope of her shoulders and I wonder what it would be like to hold them both. I can’t really imagine it. I was never very good at imagining. I keep thinking: could I do that, really, with this body? with these hands?
I wish we could just talk about camp, Sara and me. It got hard to talk to her right when I thought that it would get easier. Last week the school took us all out to this old Gold Rush town—it’s the same one every year—and we were supposed to be panning for nuggests in the muddy little tourist pond all day. Sara looked bored as hell, and I was too, and then I started watching the curve of her neck as she pretended to pan, and how her things nearly touched where her skirt ended but didn’t. She caught me looking, I blushed, then she came over.
“This camp is shithouse,” she announced.
I agreed and she led me off away from the group and into a fake mud hut, which was filled with a fake miner family cut out of cardboard. It was cool inside, and we got to talking like we used to. I told her I missed home, still, kind of, and asked her did she miss home as well? That’s when she turned to me with her eyes wide open and said, “You have no idea about my home, do you, Jim?”
She never really talked about her family before, especially not her mom whenever I asked. But in the hut she told me everything, or it seemed like everything at the time. Sara said camp was a holiday for her, because at home she finds there’s so much stuff to worry about. Things had got better, but still some days, she hardly ate anything at all. She said at her old school, they called her a wog because her mom didn’t speak much English and she didn’t dress the right way for school at first. Before they moved she was in big trouble at school because she refused to sing the national anthem in assembly—she hasn’t sung it once since a window of her house got broken by a brick wrapped in an Australian flag.
And her mom? Well, Sara loves her like mad, but she is always looking out for her, always translating and running around helping her with moving, looking for jobs, getting her a driver’s licence because the government won’t recognize the one she got back home.
I said I didn’t think it was fair for her, for Sara. I couldn’t imagine my own mom asking me to take care of things like she does.
“It’s not the best,” she said, “Of course it’s not. But my mom and me, we’ve been through stuff. I never had a dad—it’s just her and me. Maybe you don’t get that.”
I didn’t say anything. What do you say to that? All I could think of was Sara sitting there alone on the fence while she waits, not even angry, only worried. Girl like her should be in the middle of everything, not the one worrying.
But still she put her hand on my shoulder, and I felt light underneath her for some reason, as if all of a sudden she was the fat one and I myself weighed pretty much nothing.
“It’s just—it’s good to know there’s guys like you.”
We stayed there saying nothing for a while, and the she turned around and asked me if I wanted to kiss her right there, just this once, and I must have said yes super quick because she laughed and smiled and moved her mouth to my mouth, then I felt her breath all warm on my lips, and I began to relax, met her tongue with my tongue, closed my eyes to shut out all the cardboard miner kids. It felt like I was swimming. Then I put my hand in her hip, which I thought was what you’re supposed to, and started lifting up her top, but then she pushed it away, frowned, and rushed off so I had to follow her to the rest of the group where Lily Kim was sure she’d struck gold but hadn’t.
I don’t know what I thought would happen when we got back. Maybe she felt bad for telling me all the stuff about her mom. Or maybe she felt dumb because she went and kissed the fat kid on school camp. I wonder if she’ll be my girlfriend when I stop being fat anymore. Or if she’ll be my girlfriend me when I show that I can stand up to Mrs. B. for her.
It’s 2:30 and Mr. Harrison lets us out early like usual, and we go for a walk around the school, which is usual for us on a Wednesday. We walk without saying anything. I start trying to tell her about the Russian bear riders but she cuts me off.
“Jim, I’m sorry about camp. It was stupid. I was stupid.”
My hands are sweaty. I can’t think of anything to say, just a whole load of half-things. I try to grab her hand but she yanks it away. I need to not be nervous. I need to not be the fat kid, and now.
“Don’t worry,” I say. “I just wish you didn’t have to worry all the time. I just wish your mom—”
“Jim, you don’t get it. There are some things you just don’t get, alright? And you’re not going to get them. So quit.”
It’s 3:18 by the time we get back to the fence, and we part ways when we see her mom on the corner, black sunglasses and crazy hair, and my mom in the car, and it’s all quiet on the street while the both of them are just waiting.
When I get in the car my mom says: “You are sunburnt.” I shrug my shoulders. I don’t want to talk to her. Not now not ever.
“You don’t have the skin type for this kind of exposure, Jim, not in the summer. Look, your face is pink. Do you even wear your hat?”
“Who was that girl, the one you wait with? Is she your friend?”
“She’s pretty, isn’t she?”
Mom has no idea what she’s talking about. I start to feel very tense. Why does she want to know all this stuff? What will she get out of having this information?
“What’s that game you play, Jim, when you’re throwing the rocks?”
“Mom,” I say. “Whatever.” I can see in the mirror that she’s hurt. Now I want to say sorry. But I don’t know how.
Back at home, I rush off to the beach, which is where I go after bad days. This is a bad-bad day, so I don’t swim, I just run all the way to the boardwalk and then I sit on the bench, red and sweaty, watching the ocean like I’m so thirsty I would drink the whole thing if they let me.
There are still people hanging around on the sand and in the surf. It really is bloody hot, still. On a day this hot, people stagger around like they’re carrying a weight on their shoulders—they move slow, sweating just from the exertion of being there. It’s weird how the word for light means the opposite of heavy but it also means the sun, which seems to weigh everyone down so much. There’s a bottle rolling along the boardwalk, and it’s about to roll into the ocean. I take two steps to stop it, but then I feel awfully tired, and I remember how stupid I look when I run, so I let it go and it plops into the sea, probably on its way to kill a dolphin or something.
Back home, I can’t even face Singin’ in the Rain. Maybe I am the Donald O’Connor one, after all that, maybe this is how it goes for old Jim. I want to be the leading man, damn it, her leading man. I turn over and add a note to my List Book that I should eat dark chocolate instead because milk chocolate makes me fat. And then I go to sleep.
On Thursday, when we get out of class, we wait in silence for a few minutes. At 3:04, I see Mrs. B. appear on the corner, with those sunglasses still on and talking on her cellphone like she does. Sara gives me a look, then hops down to meet her. I usually feel robbed on days like this, watching them walk off down the street together while I wait up here alone.
After what Sara said about her mom’s licence, I decided probably they don’t have a car. Sara must lie for her mom’s sake. I wonder why Mrs. B. wears glasses all the time, who she talks to on that cellphone, all that stuff. I am losing The Game while I think about these things. I know that Sara should have it better, but I can’t figure out what I could say to Mrs. B. to make her fix it. Still, I’ve got to do something.
When Mom comes, I tell her my day was fine and she seems happy enough to sit in silence.
Today was a good-bad day, so I walk down to Dee Why to swim. I let Mom put a hat on me as I run through the door. I also wear my rashvest. Despite being English, Mom tans OK, but Dad is really pale too and I can’t tell if it’s just because he never goes out except for work. I can’t see tired old Dad carrying the weight of the sunshine for long. I wonder what he’s scared of, my dad, that my mom isn’t.
The ocean is wild today, and there is seaweed absolutely everywhere on the beach. It’s alright in the public baths, though, and that’s where I usually swim anyway because there’s no one there in the evening. I strip down, jump in, and lie backwards on the water, watching stars and clouds up above me. If I stay totally still, then all I can hear is the waves on the cliffs, nothing else, just the sound of the ocean and me—and then when I move in the water all I feel is the water rushing past, first it’s slow like I’m slow, then it’s just as fast as me when I speed up, start to take over, splashing and kicking at the water around me thinking this is it, alright, this is how you stop being scared of the dark.
On the way back up to the street, I see her there, Mrs. B., on the same park bench that I sit on after bad-bad days, holding her hung-up cellphone in one hand and staring out to sea with the sun going down behind her. Does she just likes to sit there, I wonder, or did she have a bad-bad day as well. Mrs. B. is slim, and her skin is really tan—she looks like she belongs here, on the beach, more than I do at least. The pasty bugger I am. For a second, I wonder if I should talk to her, but I think of my list back home that I haven’t even finished and I realize that I’m nowhere near ready at all. Plus I can’t figure out what she’s doing here, or even what she might be thinking.
I’m jumpy all day, on Friday. Not even the beach calmed me down entirely, and I added a heap of stuff to the “Mrs. B.” list last night that I’m not really sure about. At recess, I try to go over all that stuff. I would start by introducing myself and saying how I got to know her daughter. That would lead into something about how sad Sara has been, and how she has to worry about things she shouldn’t. And so on. I join in the lunchtime cricket and I do OK bowling. When I yawn and stretch, it feels like my whole body is thinning, growing. I grab around my gut, and there’s still soft there, but I don’t know if there’s enough to call me fat anymore. I reckon my Dad had it right, after all. I wonder what I can’t get done today.
In afternoon math, while I wait for the bell, I look over at Sara and I wonder what she will think. Obviously I am trying to help her, not hurt her. But maybe she is angry at me because of all that. I try to catch her eye. She does not look over. Today it’s just me.
At 3:05, I am going over it all in my head, but it sounds stupider and stupider the more I do. Sara and I are playing The Game without talking, always missing.
Then Mrs. B. is at the corner, and I take off like a rabbit down the hill towards her. “Hey,” I call. “Mrs. B.!”
Only then do I realize no one calls her Mrs. B. who can pronounce her last name, and I don’t know her first name either, so I don’t have anything to call her at all. I’m really going to shit this up, now, aren’t I.
“Hi,” I say, catching my breath as I stop. “Hi.”
Mrs. B. takes off her glasses. She has bright green eyes. My palms are sweating.
“Hi,” she says.
“Hi.” I can hear Sara coming down the street. The trees are losing their leaves already. I see a little dirt on my school shoes. “My name is Jim. Jim Watson. I’m, um, I’m Sara’s friend.”
“Yes. Jim. I know Jim.” Her eyes are very green. And soft. Sara’s just arrived behind me. I summon my accusations. My bag is still giving off banana smell.
“Well, Mrs. B. Um, I’ve been talking to Sara a lot recently, and—”
“Sara, you are right!” Mrs. B. calls over my shoulder. “He does look like the funny one.”
My palms are still sweating. Sara is scared, I can feel it without looking. What does she think I’m going to say? I can feel my neck burning in the sun. What am I supposed to know, and what not?
“Yeah. So I just wanted to meet you, basically.” I put my pudgy, sweaty hand towards Sara’s mom, and
Sara sighs with relief when I do.
Mrs. B. shakes my hand, really gentle. Sara and her mom seem to think this is funny. I can’t tell if I’m being weak or strong. All I know is I’m tired, and it’s hot, so bloody hot, and I just want to go home. “Cool,” I mumble, turning back up the street, and I think I see a smile on Sara’s face as I go. Which seems more important, now, anyway, than whether I’ve messed this up or not. So now I’m smiling too, a little, while I limp up to where we usually sit on the fence.
When Mum finally pulls up on Flood St., I am still throwing pebbles over my shoulder. Only I’m not swinging my feet, because there’s some kind of miracle that’s happened and I don’t want to break the spell, not with anything. Every time I throw a stone, I hear a little pong, literally every single time, and now I’m in the zone and every single bloody pebble’s going straight bang smack onto the DEE WHY ELEMENTARY sign then bouncing off onto the ground. I can only imagine how the pile looks underneath.
But Mom’s here, now, and I’ve got to run, I’ve got to go, so I don’t even have a look at the sign, I just jump in the car and she drives off while I try to explain to her the rules of The Game and why no one will believe what just happened when I tell them, no really, Mom, no one.