This is a good time to let you know I am not my best in new situations. I was a very shy kid and even though I have outgrown that part of me for the most part, I still resort to a being a wallflower when tossed into a new environment.  And upon meeting new people, it’s not easy for me to impose my wishes up front. That beautifully opinionated Melissa doesn’t blossom until a little later. Taking this into consideration, I would not have been at all comfortable with asking Azil to change her dinner plans for any reason. But when I told her Katie didn’t like eggs, Azil blanched and explained her planned entree of Bobotie had an egg-based topping. This was the fork in the road where I took a wrong turn.

“Tell her it’s cheese.”

That was my brilliant solution. Explaining to Azil that Katie’s aversion to eggs had nothing to do with an allergy, and that no ambulance would have to be called if she ingested them, I began down a path of betrayal that would require the assistance of everyone at the dinner. Jeff had also invited our new boss and his wife to this event, so I had to let them know as well not to comment on the ingredients of the recipe. The only person I didn’t tell was Katie.

Katie is pretty set in her culinary ways, and her hate for eggs runs deep.  I was raised with eggs for breakfast every day, but the only time I’m allowed to cook eggs is when Katie is out of the house. She doesn’t want to see them, taste them, hear them being cooked, smell them, and always makes some snide comment when we go out to breakfast and finds them on my plate. So what made me think I’d get away with my lie that night at Jeff’s house I’m not sure, but I somehow assumed Katie wouldn’t catch on.

However, I didn’t take into consideration texture. Cheese and egg certainly have different textures and the dish on my plate looked just like egg, despite Azil’s attempt to include cheese in her listing of ingredients as she served us.  Katie creased her brow and looked up at Azil.

“What kind of cheese is this?”

This is when I learned Azil is not a very good liar, since she turned to ME and nervously said, “A kind of ricotta?”  One, I didn’t ask the question yet she was looking at me.  Second, a “kind” of ricotta is like being “sorta” pregnant.  There really is only one kind.  That’s when Katie started pushing the Bobotie toward the side of her plate and focused only on the side items, which everyone else noticed too. After some silence she asked me if it was egg and I had no choice but to come clean, as did everyone else at the dinner.

Putting a loved one in an awkward position in front of a group of strangers is not the best strategy for a healthy relationship.  And I let my timid need “not to be any trouble” get in the way of protecting Katie’s phobia of eggs, regardless of whether I understand or agree with it.  Needless to say, I doubt we’ll be making plans to go to South Africa anytime soon.

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