Something To Think About

“I-I can… I can explain”, I stuttered as we both stood watching our newly bought house being engulfed by the flames. She just stood there, quiet and composed as ever. Even in the ongoing storm in her life, she hadn’t once flinched. “It better be a good explanation”, she said in monotone and walked to the car. She turned to face me with a questioning look and asked, “What? You wanna go in there? or you got somewhere else to go?”, shaking my head I walked to the car and got in the passenger’s seat. We booked a room in a motel and she walked ahead of me, head held high the entire time with an unreadable face.
My mind was racing, trying to escape from what it had just witnessed. So, as a diversion, I focused on our room and its décor. The room was pretty modest for a motel room. On entering, one could easily see that this room had been worn pretty much. Patches of fresh paint covered what seemed like water that had seeped into the walls. The wall behind the bed was covered in floral wallpaper of lilies which was also torn from certain parts and showed the light shade of yellow paint on the wall. The beds were big enough for one person to sleep in comfortably. Bedsheets tucked nicely under the beds, pillows fluffed and fresh like the sheets. On the edge of the beds were towels, folded neatly and a travel soap placed on top of each of them. The rest of the room was covered in the most basic furniture; two wooden chairs and a small glass table, a window that looked out to the dimly lit and mostly empty parking lot. The bedside tables were tiny if anything at all. Still, they housed two drawers and had a small lamp each. the door to the bathroom was directly opposite the beds. The bathroom itself was adequate for two people to use at a time, that is, if one was using the sink, and the other; the broken and fixed shower.
When I turned, mom was pouring herself a glass of water and motioned for me to sit. I sat down on the bed closer to the window. Half of my internal voices were screaming and running around dramatically, flailing their arms about, in total havoc. The other half had formed a board of the sane ones, and helped me remain calm and said things like “It’s now or never”, “just tell her, she’ll probably understand”, and “better out than in”. The last one particularly in Hagrid’s voice.
As the voices chanted their word of wisdom and confidence like a mantra, I took a deep breath, close my eyes and blurted out the truth without thinking, “I miss Wisconsin, I miss my friends, I miss home”. For a second, I thought I saw a flash of concern and worry, I thought I saw my old mom in those eyes. And, then just as soon as it appeared, the emotion dissipated and just like that, robo-mom was back. Defeated, I continued “I miss home… I miss dad. I thought I could handle this, I tried really hard to deal with everything mom. The new life, college, new people, new house. Even the divor-”, she cut me mid-sentence as she erupted, “DO NOT blame your poor choices or behavior on the past. And don’t try to act like you didn’t know this was going to happen one day! we have all three of us noticed how this marriage has failed and gone downhill in the past few years. And don’t act like you never get to see him! I know you guys video chat every weekend!”
She sat down on the other bed and broke down in sobs, “You don’t think it’s been hard for me? You think I haven’t tried? Hell! It’s exhausting to maintain this composure for a whole day!! and I have been doing it for over two months now!”, I knew she was finally letting it all out, emptying everything, speaking her mind. She was no longer robo-mom but the crazy, hysterical woman I loved as my mom. I felt myself smile through my tears as she rambled on. “Do you know what it’s like to keep a marriage well glued for twelve years only to see it ebb away slowly and get destroyed until there’s nothing left to even salvage? Do you know what it’s like to be calm and composed during such a terribly difficult time because you cannot possibly break down in front of your only daughter because it might be traumatic for her as if its already not enough that she has to see her parents split up, has to shift cities, leave her old life behind, start college and be okay about all of this!”, she shifted to my bed and sat next to me.
She cupped my face in her hands and wiped my tears which I was unaware of streaming down my face, and said, “Oh, my poor baby. I’m so so sorry for being so cold and distant this whole time. I just thought that it would make you tougher, I don’t ever want the same fate as mine for you.” After calming down a little she continued, “I want you to know sweetie, your dad and I really did try, we did everything we could to save this marriage. But sometimes you just have to accept that the pieces aren’t meant to fit together no matter how hard you try to connect them. Sometimes you have to accept that life is hard. You’re old enough to understand this now and the sooner you learn this, the better.
Finally finding my choked voice, I said, “I’ve missed you mom!”, sobbing I hugged her tight and she reciprocated, on parting I continued, “and I didn’t mean to set the house on fire, you know that, right? It was an accident. I was just so focused on taking dad’s call that left the stove on and didn’t realize to turn off the gas lit lamps in the driveway.” “I know my baby, I know”, was all she said as she brushed my hair off of my face, kissed the top of my forehead, and pulled me in for a hug. We only let each other go after what seemed like an eternity, because I felt that I had sprained my neck.
That night, I lay in the motel bed thinking of everything my mom said to me. Efforts, newness, life. It made me question myself on a number of levels. Am I making enough efforts for saving the ones I love, or am I not? Was it wrong of me to be prejudiced towards my new life and shut it out without giving it a chance? If life really is hard, will it truly be my perspective or outlook towards it that causes it to change? Something to think about, I guess.

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