512 Words

Much Ado About Mom

Carmen Ruggero

A sweltering eighty-five degrees and ninety-percent humidity, have made this day unbearable. Low clouds have threatened rain all day, but not a drop so far. Not a twig is moving---no relief in sight.

One foot outside that door and I almost reneged on my promise to take mother shopping. Then considered the deep freeze that would follow such a decision, I'd face blazing heat any time.

I couldn't take the look of resignation, the disappointment in her eyes.

I wouldn't mind if she expressed her disappointment, if she came right out with it. But no, she'll find the way to dig a hole in my heart the size of a crater.

"Well," she'll whisper.

I can just hear that little voice of hers; such a familiar sound. That little tilt of her head, that sheepish look that could kill a pack of wolves.

"I guess we could go some other time."

I know her puckered expression so well; I can see it with my eyes closed. She'll run back into the house, step into a pair of slippers, throw an apron on top of her nice dress, and start dinner three hours early.

She'll throw herself into that culinary expedition like she's on a death mission. Her back to me at all times, hiding the little crooked mouth, the wrinkled eyebrow.

"Mom, are you all right?" I'll be obliged to ask. I'll have to repeat the question. She never answers the first time around.

"Uhmm," will be her only answer.

Well, that's one hundred times worse than the mouth and the brow, and that's why she keeps her back turned. She wants me to hear the disappointment in her voice. She wants me to feel guilty.

With obvious reluctance, she'll ask if I'm staying for dinner. I'll politely decline, and go home---tail between my legs.

No, I'm not having that. No sir, not today. Her mind's set on shopping, and that's what we'll do. We'll go shopping, and sweat to death.

Never mind that my hair will frizzle, my make-up will run, and I'll come home looking like I was pardoned ten seconds too late. She'll be quite content.

She's in the bathroom now, and will come out of there looking like a million. How can I tell her we're not going? Oh the guilt! My soul tortured to death over what? A little trip to the mall? We'll go, and that's the end of it.

Mom comes out of the bathroom; I gape at the sight. She's not ready.

"I was thinking," she says.

"Oh, that's dangerous, dangerous indeed." I say to myself.

"It's so hot, maybe we better stay home."

There's an angle to this; I know it. She knows I don't want to go, but wants to hear me insist.

"I don't mind, Mom, really." I lie.

"No, let's stay. Have dinner with us, and drive home later when it cools down."

"Really, Mom, I don't mind."

"Come on, let's visit," she says.

She did that in purpose. Kindness, is her strongest weapon; I know it well.

Copyright ©2003 Carmen Ruggero. All Rights Reserved.

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June, 2003
Issue #81

512 Words