WAY BETTER THAN POPCORN is the true story of a larger than life, vulnerable and indomitable mother whose younger son could not live with her biggest mistake. Four years after that fatal mistake she said to him: “We want you to talk to us about your problems. We stand by you, Rocher." He stared at her and her fifth husband. His reaction: "You can’t solve them: you are my problems. They start with you."
WAY BETTER THAN POPCORN is about family secrets and shames. It is a riveting, hilarious story of hades and heaven, hurting and healing. This story is a blessing and a gift.
Deadpan humor is Rocher's trademark. So is honesty. No fake round here:
"In the pastor’s house I slept in a bath for the first time. With enough pillows under you, it is quite cozy. But you just shouldn’t touch the tap in the middle of the night. Never tell yourself that sleeping in a bath is just a dream. Do so, and you get a spurt of ice-cold water down your neck.
"Two days later there were police cars with flashing blue lights and an army of cops in front of our house. The furniture removers looked like scattering rats when they carried our stuff out of the house. It must have felt like a war in Iraq to them.
"Grandpa and grandma eventually did find out about the German. They brought some tea, shampoo and coffee to our new flat. Grandma’s face was ashen when she said: 'Where is all this going to end, Gertina? Where?'
Mom was a wreck; she didn’t know how it would all end. She said goodbye to grandpa and grandma at the only door of the crummy little flat, turned around and battled to be just as good a mother hen as before. But she actually resembled a wretched one with Newcastle disease.
“'Now, now…let the three of us have some coffee,' Mom said. 'This is the first day of the rest of our lives. And life is going to be good from now on.'
" Two weeks after the strangling incident my mother and the German, who had promised her the most expensive diamond ring in the country, were divorced.
"Natasha speaks to me; she taps with her fingers against my left cheek. 'Knock-knock,” she says. “Are you there?'
"'Sorry,' I say. 'The waterfall made me think of something.'
“'Everything makes you think of something,' she says ruefully. 'In spite of Debbie saying day after day: ‘It doesn’t matter where you are, be there. Don’t be on your own planet.'
“'I’m sorry,' I say.
“'Then show me you’re sorry.'
“'How?' I ask, but I actually know what she means.
“'Wake up, Rocher,' she says. 'There’s a moon in the sky above you. You’ve got arms, hands, and a mouth –'
"She slides from the rock and stands in front of me. She puts her arms around me and throws her head backward. Her lips are only centimeters from mine. The strings of her top are two thin black shoelaces over her shoulders. She glows, I think in amazement. She has lubricated her body with oil. In the oil there is something like sequins, something that makes her irresistible in the moonlight.
" When did she start chewing strawberry gum? While my eyes were closed against the stars? Her breath does not smell like coffee and condensed milk any more.
“'Do you love me?' she pleads.
"I don’t answer her question. I don’t love her; not like in real love. I start the French kiss and she does with me what she did with the chocolate and condensed milk and biscuits. She cannot get enough."
"To carry a coffin is no easy task. You feel the coffin and the weight of the body inside it.
"I am carrying my dad, I think while we wind our way through the graveyard with its millions of tombstones to the open grave. How strange. I am small but I carry my dad. I can feel him. He is big, strong and heavy. I know exactly what his mouth and eyes look like now. The last time when I visited him, I saw him sleeping on the couch in front of the TV."
Way better than Popcorn is a novel about faith, prayer and the Son of God who forever says: "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God."