Lara’s Christmas among Meat Eaters (2)

Lara had had a queasy feeling from the start. Not that there was a special occasion. In fact, she should have been happy. In the days leading up to Christmas Eve, her mother kept asking her what a vegan eats and what she could cook. Lara had given her information more than willingly. The more they exchanged ideas, the more Lara got the impression that her mother actually enjoyed it. But her mother, who rightly bore her name Sophie, the wisdom, had always been a very open, unconventional person who was keen to experiment. She was more concerned about her father, who was very conservative and attached great importance to tradition. As did her brothers, who emulated their father in many ways. Accordingly, hesitantly she had entered her parents‘ apartment.

Sophie immediately went to her from the kitchen, beaming with joy and full of warmth. „Lara, how nice that you’re here,“ she said to her daughter and hugged her. Lara had returned the hug and it had become a little easier for her. „How foolish you are,“ she had scolded herself, „What could go wrong?“ „Go to your father and your brothers,“ Sophie had now asked her daughter, „the three of them are sitting in the library with their obligatory whiskey. I’ll just get everything ready quickly and then we can eat. Tell them to come to the dining room in ten minutes.” With that she had turned around and wanted to go back to the kitchen when Lara stopped her: “Shouldn’t I give you a hand?” she asked. „What nonsense, you’re here today to let yourself be pampered,“ her mother had contradicted and shooed Lara in the direction of the said room. Lara carefully opened the door to the library. A cozy fire had burned in the fireplace and the Christmas tree had stood by the large window, perfectly decorated, as Lara was used to from her mother. The three men had sat in deep armchairs and drank the golden-brown liquid from appropriate glasses. When she had opened the door all the way, the three had interrupted their animated conversation and turned to her. „Oh, the prodigal daughter is coming back,“ her father announced succinctly. Lara hadn’t been able to say whether her departure to Graz had still stood between them, which her father might have taken as an affront to his person, or the fact that she had deviated from the normal path, as he had probably seen it, and now lived vegan. At least her brothers had welcomed her with a hug and a certain awkward cordiality. However, they shouldn’t have let their joy show too much, because they certainly hadn’t missed the tension between father and daughter if the father hadn’t talked about it anyway. Although her brothers were independent, grown men, they still hadn’t managed not to submit to their father’s authority, which Lara didn’t understand, since they weren’t in any dependent relationship. Maybe it was just normal, whatever that meant, that most people always remained children to their parents, whose goodwill they didn’t want to lose. „I’m also happy to see you,“ Lara had explained without being unsettled by her father’s pointer, „And I’m supposed to tell you that we should come to the dining room in ten minutes.“ “By the way, how are your studies going? I hope well?” her father suddenly interjected. „Very well, actually,“ Lara replied dryly, who was aware that her father was in contact with colleagues in Graz and had made inquiries accordingly. That’s why she added, „As you know very well.“ „Then let’s feast the goose,“ her father had interjected, spontaneously changing the subject again, and giving Lara a malicious look, who, however, apparently unaffected, turned around made to go ahead of them into the dining room. In fact, the obligatory goose was in the middle of the table, along with red cabbage and dumplings. Lara had eaten from it last year. And if she was honest with herself, she liked it. But then she had only seen the meat, in contrast to this evening. The queasy feeling had returned with full force. „Sit down,“ her mother had asked her, whereupon everyone had obeyed this request.

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