Driving with purpose seemed to dry the aqueous pressure behind my eyes as the shrinking distance between my soul and that of my parents stretched the road and all its travelers into panoramic time lapsed smears. I was glad for the speed of other enthusiasts and procrastinations as it hid my my own from those who would so soon have me back within the mind-numbing confines of drivers school. But despite my efficient progress, I was in no hurry to meet the eyes of my mother and to see within them a worry over me or my progress in moving on with my life. And in the 5 seconds of seeing her it took for her to ask and re-ask me what was wrong, I had decided to keep my troubles with love and work to myself.
Thus opened the gateway to hear all of life’s troubles setting upon her own shoulders. I’m a good listener, I’ve been told. But today I wasn’t up to the task and I decided not to stay for dinner. My dad returned home with groceries which I failed to carry, a role I feel obliged to fulfill as any kind of a good son to those whom have provided so much. I suppose I was too busy balancing on the white picket between wanting assistance and wanting unconditional and unquestioning love. Sometimes we all just want sympathy for no particular reason. And in the 5 or so stages of grief, the one left out is the pathetic stage which no one likes to talk about, let alone admit to, though I know many have gone there before me.
So I decided to leave after an hour of listening and not much talking. But before I left, my mom asked me a third time what was wrong and I admitted that I missed my ex and my job had changed at work, and that these things were really bothering me today for some reason, and I didn’t want to talk about it even though I was there for some reason I couldn’t explain. We said our goodbyes and my dad was enthusiastic to talk and really disappointed that I was leaving after seeing him for 5 minutes. And it took everything inside of me not to walk away rudely when my mom insisted in walking me out as she scrambled to put on her gym shoes. She followed me out into the failing Winter’s cold.
We walked the few feet to my car and she parentally started in with advice I assumed I already had heard or come up with on my own. I’m sure I’ve perfected the expression of aloofness at this point in my life, but I kept it holstered to hear a bit more. She told me about the boy who loved her whom she had come close to marrying. This boy adored my mother and wanted to marry her. He even asked for my mom’s permission before he proposed to another woman, his love was so deep. My mom loved him back, but in her most honest moments, she knew that she was too much for him, that she would dominate him and spit him out after a few years. A long time ago for her, she remembered a party after their split where he was standing next to his new woman, his fiancée. My mom walked over to them and asked him to get her a coke; she wanted to talk to the her. As the fiancée’s eyes daggered into my mom’s, they broke and settled as my mom said to her the reasons for the split and the reasons for her to be happy with this man. Mom said to her, if she could find it within herself to marry him, she would find in him a remarkable man, a catch, a caring husband and loving father. The two women became fast friends as the awkwardness melted away replaced by something else surely better experienced than explained here. Years later, my mom saw the girl outside a building, now married to the man for a short time. She said that she wanted to thank my mother for her kind words at that party that one night and what a difference it had made to her. She said that they had both just lost a baby in miscarriage. But with a smile she said that she and the man were going to carry on and because of their love for each other, they were going to try again. In the end, this woman married the right man. Consequently, my mother married the right man as well, and she was the right woman for him. No marriage is perfect, but what she ended up with was the right thing that, as she put it, God had provided.
I looked away at the moon rising in a perfect blue-gray sphere and perhaps the cause of my day’s chaotic soul was rising too. Like a puzzle piece, my mother’s advice clicked into place and I felt a little more complete. My existence is owed to the small decisions she made that had lasting consequences. Through the backward-looking lens of time, we can roughly gauge where we’ve survived and where we’ve failed. My mom’s story is paralleling my own in many ways and part of me cringes at the outcome that I see coming but want to resist. I’d rather second guess fate and end up with the woman that I choose. But maybe in a few years, maybe, I can look back and be happy about the moonrise this day and how my mom was right once again. And to that day I shall now look forward.