Write On!

Mother’s Call

In Responses, Uncategorized on February 16, 2012 at 11:06 pm

by Tara Wiley

Stuck. Really, truly stuck. On Valentine’s Day. How poetic, how pathetically true.

I stared at the broken latch that kept me prisoner in the dark one-pot bathroom. The little dive I had chosen to drown my sorrows in that year provided fantastic comfort food. They did not, however, provide fantastic facilities when duty called. And there I was, back there alone, a bare bulb eyeballing me from the center of the ceiling as I contemplated the possibilities. I could try calling out for help, but the local garage band performing in a corner of the dining room was sure to drown me out. Banging on the door was out, too, for the same reason – they were that loud. And I had purposefully left my cell phone at home. I wasn’t in the mood for my mother’s annual pity-call.

“Oh, honey, you are such a lovely girl. I don’t know why the boys aren’t lining up for a chance to be with you,” she would whine. Then the tone would change, suspicious – “Or are they lining up, and you just won’t give any of them the time of day? That would be just like you. Tell me the truth, now, did you get an invite this Valentine’s?” I would offer silence, stewing at her pestering, the same every year. “Or – oh, love, you can be honest with me – do you fancy the girls instead? Are you afraid to tell –“

No, Mom, for the gazillionth time, no,” I’d growl. “And please stop asking me that.”

Every mom thinks her daughter is beautiful. Well, most moms, anyway. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that lovely to her was homely to the rest of the world, especially here in New York City. A Midwestern girl like me, without any fashion sense, stood out like a lone palomino in a corral filled with stunning black Arabians. Not to mention, I was married, albeit to my job. I arrived early, stayed late, copyediting in my little corner of the small publishing firm that hired me straight out of college. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was exactly what I wanted. Why couldn’t my mom understand that? I was happy.

Wasn’t I?

Or was I just…. Stuck?

So this was where my aha moment would take place, in a grimy bathroom? No way. I wouldn’t let my life come down to this moment of irony. I would stay stuck, thank you very much, until further notice. I would unstick on my own terms. Mind you, unsticking myself from the current mess…

…would require that my future husband arrive, jiggle the handle of said grimy bathroom’s door, see the knob fall into his hand, reach through the hole left there, and open the door to the rest of our lives.

Now I call my mother on Valentine’s Day.

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  1. I love when she says she’ll get unstuck on her own terms. Oh so true of each of us! 🙂

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