I have a thing for guacamole. It’s more than just delicious. It has comforted me at times when I most needed to be comforted.
Like four years ago, when I was home in Dallas for the summer and on the verge of impending heartbreak. Standing in the kitchen, I was holding myself together as best as I could until my mom came in and asked me how things were going. That’s when I lost it, crying and gasping for air; the only words I managed to get out were, “Mom, I just really need some guacamole.”
I cried all the way to Cantina Laredo. As my mom sped toward avocado heaven, she told me everything was going to be all right. Guacamole and a mother’s love can cure just about anything. Can salsa do that? Hell no.
Guacamole and a mother’s love were also the subjects in some of the best scenes of “Enough Said.” The movie may center on Eva, a divorced woman played brilliantly by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), the ex-wife of Albert (James Gandolfini), the man she's falling in love with, but it also tells the story of the many difficulties of letting go between parent and child. Poignant and all too real, the film was totally robbed in not receiving any Oscar nominations.
I brought a screener of the film home to watch with my mom during the Christmas break. And just like I was back in high school again, we slipped into her bed and pressed play. It felt like a scene right out of the movie and even though I’m back in Los Angeles now, we haven’t stopped talking about it.
“It’s just so brilliant the way they use guac in the movie,” I said to my mom the other day. “On their first date, Albert tells Eva how his ex-wife hated the way he ate guacamole, and she says ‘That’s a silly thing to hate.’ But by the end she despises him for it. How could she sabotage herself like that?”
“She was just protecting herself,” my mom said. “By the time you’re fifty, you’ve been crushed enough and I don’t think you can help it.”
“I get that,” I said. “I’d want to protect myself too, but if you were in her position would you let someone’s ex feed you horrible information about someone you really like?”
“No,” my mom said. “I mean, I don’t know. I’d be curious, maybe get one or two tidbits, but no. At the end of the day, if I really like someone, that’s who I’m siding with.”
“Yeah, when Eva finally apologizes, Albert tells her, ‘What about protecting us?’ and it just clicks for her,” I explained. “By trying to protect herself, she screwed herself over. It’s heartbreaking.”
“Yeah, it is,” my mom said in a small voice. “I was trying so hard to hide how much I was crying when Albert's daughter told Eva, ‘He just really liked you.’”
“Oh, trust me, I know. So, I have a question for you. Would you let her daughter’s friend, the one played by Tavi what’s-her-name, get so close to you?”
“No, absolutely not. It’s crossing a line,” said my mom. “Think how jealous you would be as the other mother!”
“But you’ve done that with my friend Aly,” I reminded her. “She comes to you for advice all the time when she can’t talk to her mom.”
“I mean. Sure. But at the end of the day you have to be a mom, not a best friend. Eva was this good person, and it’s not that she was doing anything wrong, but part of her was lonely and she crossed that line.”
“That’s my favorite scene in the movie. When Eva's daughter Ellen comes home and finds her and her best friend (Tavi) asleep on the coach,” I said. “When Ellen says, ‘I think I’ve been trying to separate myself from you because leaving is so hard.’ It killed me.”
“I think we all do that with the people we’re close to,” my mom said. “Pull away, to make the separation easier. Eva wasn’t trying to hurt her daughter, but it happened. And she felt like shit for it.”
There was a long pause until my mom broke the silence.
“I also really loved the scene where they’re sitting in her daughter’s room, and Eva says how empty and lonely she’s going to be when she leaves.”
“Wait,” I said. “Whose room?”
“That’s not a scene in the movie,” I told her. “You just made that up.”
“It’s not? Like they’re in a room of some kind.”
“No, that’s not a scene.”
“Oh, I guess it’s just a composite of scenes then.”
There’s another long pause.
“Are you texting, Skylar?”
“No.” (I was.)
“I fucking hate it when you do that.”
“It’s my guacamole,” I told her. "I gotta go though."
“OK. Think about when you want to come home for Thanksgiving please.”
It’s February and she wanted me to book my flight for next November. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but the scene with Julia Louis-Dryfus and James Gandolfini sitting on the porch, waiting for their kids to arrive for the holiday was playing in my head.
“I will,” I said. “Love you.”
“Love you, too.”