My mother is a bitch. I’m sorry, but she is. I spent several hours with her today, first fetching her from her condo, which is twenty minutes in traffic one way, and then bringing her here for lunch and piano playing. I made her that salad I showed you all recently. She loved the salad, so there’s that.
First, she started begging and pleading with me to let her read my memoir. Again. This has been going on since I freakin’ wrote it. Now, I submitted it to all the memoir agents, but none have bitten, so I’m thinking it’s going to stay in the Meg vault. If anyone out there wants to read it, let me know, but I have no plans to self-publish it.
So again I shot her down and said she can’t read the memoir. She started egging me into discussing my childhood and her childhood. “I’ve had a really good life,” she told me, but she sounded far too serious.
I groaned inwardly.
- She doesn’t really believe that, and
- It’s code for, “We’re about to start talking about the many ways in which I haven’t actually had a really good life. But we’ll do it in such a fakey way that you can’t accuse me of being negative.”
It was torture.
Then, she asked to flip through the photo album she made me for Christmas. Ah, the memories. She landed upon my first boyfriend. “Oh, what was his name?” she asked.
“I don’t remember,” I lied.
“I can almost remember it,” she cooed. “Let me think another minute. Look at the two of you all dressed up.”
“Yeah, that’s nice.” My guard was on high alert. I glanced past my mom at LuLu, who tried to shove my mom off the sofa with her killer paws. Good dog.
I played some lovely piano pieces for my mom, did a brief Tarot reading for her, and left her with my dad so I could get her groceries at the store. Then I took her home.
On the drive home, I was forced to drive in the opposing lanes to bypass a broken down city bus. While I was gingerly and carefully dodging the bus and watching for oncoming traffic, my mom asked, “When was your hearing better?”
“Before,” I muttered.
I was in the clear, having passed the bus. “Before now, of course.”
“Well, we never knew you had bad hearing.”
“Yes, you did.” I reminded her that my school had tested my hearing in third grade and had told my mom that it was poor. She did nothing about it until I noticed the problem myself at age nineteen, at which point she bought me some hearing aids for college.
“That can’t be true,” she wailed. “I can’t accept that I was neglectful.”
“It it what it is.” Since she was getting under my skin, I recounted to her how I’d spent the week with Granny Franny (her mom) when I was fifteen, and how Granny Franny was watching The Thorn Birds, which I fell in love with, but she wouldn’t turn up the volume, somehow convinced that I was faking being unable to hear the program; and when she found me watching it in the basement, she made me turn it off and watch it upstairs with everyone else to save power. I got so angry that I wound up outside, where I found a box of wood scraps with nails driven through them, and I hurled all of them against the garage door.
My mother later took pity on me and, when we got home, she rented the miniseries for me on VHS cassette. Now, who here among us thinks my mom can handle reading my memoir, when that sort of incident is the tip of the iceberg?
“Well, we didn’t know,” my mom insisted. “They told us nothing could be done about your hearing loss.”
Mm-hmm. A likely story. Also when I was fifteen, a busybody youth leader reported my mom to CPS for neglect in that specific regard, but I still didn’t get hearing aids until I was nineteen.
So I got her into her condo, and things became worse. “You said your sister’s assaulted you, right?” she asked.
“Yeah, six or seven times as adults,” I replied.
“Did you have any problems with her before she went away for college?”
“What? Um, not that I recall.”
“Now, your father never disciplined you all, did he?”
“I’ve got to go.” I stood. “I want to beat the rush hour traffic.” The word beat felt like filth coming off my tongue.
“Oh, of course,” she purred. “I’ve so enjoyed your company today. Let’s get together again soon. Early next week, okay?”
When I got home, I felt triggered beyond repair to the point that I ate all eleven of my dad’s peanut butter cookies. And then I fell sound asleep while trying to give myself EMDR under the covers. When I awoke, I found my dad downstairs about to take a walk. I asked him where he was going.
“Oh, you know… to the store, to get more cookies.”
“I’ll come with you.”
We set off and I told him how horrible Mommy had been. I said I might need more EMDR.
“If I’d known she was going to behave that badly, I would’ve taken her home,” he said. But I think he only feels that way because he pays for my EMDR. [Eyeroll.]
“Well, if you want to make it up to me, you can buy me a five-dollar lottery ticket,” I told him. So at the store, he broke a ten by paying his $10.23 total with two tens instead of a ten and a quarter. He handed me a five, and I bought a ticket. It won forty dollars. Between you and me, I think the universe took pity upon me. But who knows?