Sometimes, I wonder what my mother really thinks of me. When I talk to her on the phone, she sounds and speaks like President Obama talking to us over a television broadcast. Guarded and unsure of what to say next. Sometimes, I think my mom has a lower opinion of me or an objective she wants to throw at me through the telephone wavelength. Maybe she is simply cautious all around.
The mere thought scares the shit out of me. My sweet mother unplugged.
90 percent of the time, my mother is an angel. She will cook for me at moment’s notice, send me home with a bag of shit she doesn’t want and smile with the last ounce of strength she can muster at the end of the day.
To many, hearing her real thoughts would be scary. What does this nice small woman really want to tell you? I think of this every time we talk. She asks me how the family is and my current state, but seems to be holding something back. This has nothing to do with my unemployment status or any real plan. I just think she is holding back. At the same time, if she did let it rip and told me how she felt, I may be the one crying. That’s the game we play in our heads on a daily basis. How much of the truth do we want?
I came out of this woman after a long round of labor and after my dad drove her through 2 foot of white powder back on February 3rd, 1982 in one of the greatest snow storms in the history of St. Louis. She has a good reason to let me have it. She raised my brother and I as best as a woman could. My brother encountered an illness in his 20’s that hampered the family, yet my mother carried on strongly. My dad is a strong man himself, but my mother cleans, cooks, takes care of my brother and generally worries about the general state of the world in her free time. She treats her dogs like daughters and treats her body like a cellphone searching for a signal in a brick room. Struggling and moving in place.
Seeing my mother curse or become enraged is like watching the Blair Witch Project for the first time. You want to pretend it’s not real but are enthralled by it at the same time. You look away and back in her direction. You look for a camera.
My mom can curse and fire venom as quick as a welder with arthritis. She cut down a neighbor for not raking her leaves one time while emptying the dishwasher and I am not sure watching Bruce Lee break someone’s arm would have been more entertaining.
Seeing your calm sweet mother lose her nerve for just a few minutes is unsettling, cinematic and sad at the same time. What if she could do this more often?
One day, I want to tell my mom to let me have it. Shoot me down for failing in college and wasting my grandmother’s money. Rough me up for killing the hope of having your son graduate college while you were still alive. Give me hell for bringing my son Vincent over right after you did yardwork for 7 hours and cleaned up dog shit. Unleash your other anger on me. Tell me how hard and soul consuming taking care of a 33 year old is.
Spin me a “what if” story that has lived in your head for years. Instead of asking about me, talk about you for once. Go for it. I can handle it….I think. The result would be enlightening and somewhere off in the distance glaciers would fall to the ground.
It’s amazing what we dare to ask for in life before we think about being able to handle it. More than anything, I want to talk to my mom on the phone as if nothing was hanging over our conversation. I want her to be honest with me. I am old enough and so is she. Tell me the things I have long suspected yet have not heard out loud.
When I think of my sweet mother unplugged, I imagine shackles falling to the floor. The rust and bone of many years crashing along with it. Most of all, the sound of bullshit being vaporized.
Then again, what do I know? I am 31 and oh so young.
Dan Buffa is the co-creator, administrator and writer for the movie website, film-addict.com. He also contributes to United Cardinal Bloggers, Arch City Sports, Aaron Miles Fastball, Voicesfilm.com and writes for his personal blog, www.doseofbuffa.com. He is also a published writer for the Yahoo Contributor Network. Dan is a St. Louis, Missouri born and raised writer with a need to inform and the ability to pound out 1,000-1,500 word pieces with ease. When he isn’t writing or drinking coffee, he is spending time with his wife and son in South City. Follow him at @buffa82 on Twitter and reach him for thoughts, comments and general feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.