Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

I saved my banana for you

Welcome to the Weekly Guest Spotlight

 

Ciara BallintyneTonight’s guest is writer, Ciara Ballintyne. For more about Ciara, click on her photo to visit her website.

When I was a teenager, one of the first presents my first boyfriend gave me was a stuffed gorilla. He’s not very big, maybe only half a foot from top to toe, and he’s dressed in red boxer shorts with white love hearts.

I loved that gorilla. Still do; he turned out to be more faithful than the boyfriend in question, and I’ve still got him. The gorilla, I mean, not the boyfriend.  The relationship was incredibly unstable, and the gorilla eventually came to have meaning to me beyond the person who’d given him to me. Kind of like a toddler’s ‘blankie’. Hey, I was a hormonal teenager, give me a break.

Technically his name is Magilla Gorilla (original, huh? That’s Mum, for you, she also called her cat Mandu) but I just called him my monkey.

Now the monkey has a secret.

When I received him, he came with a tag that read ‘I saved my banana for you’. The tag I cut and tossed. After all, I was fifteen, and it’s maybe unwise to let your parents think your boyfriend is giving you ‘bananas’.

But inside his shorts, the monkey has… a banana! It’s yellow, banana shaped, and even has that black spot at the end – you know, where the banana broke off from the bunch?

Also not something I brought to the attention of my parents.

I was so attached to that monkey, I had a tendency to drag it everywhere with me anytime I was feeling miserable. Sure, break-up moments, but also bouts of extreme sickness and misery. If you found me huddled on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, swigging down cold medication with flat lemonade, the monkey was there too.

I was nineteen, maybe twenty, when one evening my grandparents came to visit, and I was sick. Yep, flat lemonade and a basin in case of emergencies sick. Me, and the monkey. Yes, at that age. Right now I’m pregnant, and hormonal, so don’t make an issue out of it, OK? It’s nice to have someone to hug, even if no one’s hugging you back. I tried with the cats, but they run away.

Anyway, I wasn’t feeling too badly, so I shambled out to the kitchen, for more lemonade maybe, leaving Mum in the company of her parents. Mum had taken possession of the gorilla for reasons I don’t recall, and was sitting on the couch playing with it as she talked to her mother.

I came back in the room just in time to see the priceless expression on Mum’s face.

Oh boy, you betcha, she’d been playing with that monkey until his banana popped out of his shorts!

And she didn’t even have a clue until then it was there.

Mum’s eyes bulged out of her head, she cut short mid-sentence and she just sat there and stared at the banana.

‘Debbie, what’s the matter?’

My grandmother was a bit more prudish than Mum, who hastily stuffs the banana back in the gorilla’s shorts, and gasps ‘Nothing!’.

Mum is easily amused. One of her favourite jokes has the punch-line ‘I’m a prawn again, Christian! I found cod!’. What she desperately wanted to do was collapse in a quivering heap while she laughed her arse off (I’m certain LMAO was coined with my mother in mind), and instead she had to sit there slowly turning purple, with the offending monkey in her lap, and try not to let on to my grandmother  that she had hold of a rude monkey.

It was entertaining to say the least, although I quickly relieved her of my gorilla before mirth could get the better of her.

I am sure if my grandmother had seen it, the response would have been ‘Deborah, that’s disgusting!’

Oh god, I love that monkey!

Thanks Ciara! I’m almost embarrassed to say I used to have a stuffed chimp that I carried around like a baby. I called him Mickey the Monkey and I loved him. I wonder where he is now.

Until the next time…I’ll be making banana bread!

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