So, I went to the grocery store and the fruit market to get stuff from my mom’s list. Once at her condo, she wanted to talk. She even gave me an out, asking if I needed to be anywhere. (But that was a trap. I would’ve been required to clarify where I needed to be.)
I was tired because yesterday my best friend had a massive meltdown. I tried to be supportive, but my friend kept yelling at me. It was upsetting and left me with a touch of insomnia and agitation.
But that’s okay. No one’s perfect. I’ve known her for years, and this has never happened before.
So I felt zoned out as I sat to talk with my mom.
“How’s that neighbor of yours?” she asked. “You know, the one who lives, uh…”
“The first house or the third house?” I asked.
“Yeah, the first house.”
“He’s great.” I groaned inwardly.
“What’s his name? Steve?”
“Stevil,” I muttered.
“Did something bad happen between you two?”
(Yes, Stevil rejected me because I’m not pretty enough. He actually told me that.)
“No,” I lied.
“What about your other neighbor?”
“I don’t know him.”
“Which parts of the Olympics do you like to watch?” she asked.
I sensed a trap. “All of it.”
“Don’t you favor the gymnastics?”
“No,” I lied.
“Do you remember when your sister broke her arm? She wanted to be like the Olympic gymnasts!”
“No,” I lied again. “I don’t recall.”
“Oh! She was using a 2 x 4 in the backyard as a balance beam, and the break was so bad that her bone was poking through her skin.”
I should’ve said yes. Oh well. Live and learn.
“Do you admire Thomas Merton?” she asked.
“Thomas Merton? Yes, of course. As you know, Bellarmine, my alma mater, reveres him.” Thomas Merton is a holy man who preached great things and had a great attitude.
“He died tragically, you know,” my mom said.
I searched my memory. She’s right. He electrocuted himself in the shower, if memory serves.
“But guess what?” my mom added. “It was the FBI. They killed him on purpose because he was a powerful influencer of nonviolence.”
“That’s great,” I muttered. “I’m so glad to know that.” Tragic. Heartbreaking. Devastating. Ignorance is bliss.
“Merton preached that we should be our authentic selves,” she added.
“I like flatulence,” I offered hopefully.
She frowned. “Honey, no one likes flatulence.”
“I was just trying to be authentic. Geez.” I shrugged.
“I’m so glad your brother’s engaged. He’s been heartbroken and single forever. It’s so tragic.”
“Uh-huh.” I sighed.
“When do you get your next story assignment?”
“Tonight at midnight. I have 24 hours.”
“But that’s terrible! Who’s awake at midnight?”
“Um, that’s why they call it NYC Midnight, Mother.”
“But… but… but… I’m appalled. How late do you stay up, honey? Surely you go to bed hours before midnight. I always fall asleep at 9:30.”
“I’ll probably stay up until 1:00 AM,” I admitted.
“But, oh! How I worry about your health with those sleeping habits.”
“Darling, I saw a drug for a new schizophrenia medication. Have you seen it?”
“Uh, could you be more specific?” I asked.
“Well, I was reading its list of side effects on the television screen, and they were terrifying!”
“Like… sudden death?” I guessed with a shrug.
“Yes, exactly! Oh! Oh! Oh! I wish you didn’t have such a severe illness. What do you think would happen if you were to go off your meds?”
“Anarchy?” I shrugged. “Blood pouring from the walls? Birds falling dead from the sky?”
She smirked. “You have such a great sense of humor. Oh, when is it again that you’re taking me to get my real ID?”
“August 3rd,” I recited from memory.
Her smile was condescending. “I’ll pay you well for that, because I know it will be a hard day for you. Oh, my poor sensitive baby.”
I sighed. “I should be going.”
“Oh! Tell your father I said hello.”
When I got home, I was braindead and exhausted. My dad was watching TV. “How’d it–”
“Torture,” I interrupted him.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“You could walk the dog,” I suggested.
That’s the end of my story. I guess it’s more like real life or a stream of consciousness than something with a beginning, middle, and end.