Under the guise of some trouble with her iPod, the old second generation clunker that I gave her last Christmas, my mother calls me on Saturday, close to midnight.
I can hear the congestion in her nose. She’s been crying. It gets lonely when you’re alone in the house on a Saturday night, the same house you’ve inhabited for the last 15 years of your life with your façade of a family, and the façade is torn down.
Our last phone-call didn’t end well. She wanted to know why we weren’t as close as other sons with their mothers.
“How can we be close”, I told her, “You go crazy every time I tell you something important. You’re stifling. Overprotective. Growing up, it made my life a nightmare.” For the first time in my life, I revealed a glimpse of how she had wronged me, not even bringing up the memories of mental abuse I keep buried in my chest for times like this, like an ember ready to be stoked into a fire.
“It’s because you’re my only son, and the only thing I have left now.” Saying these words, sparking a sudden realization, makes her sob more. She tells me that she wants to start over. It’s never too late. She wants to be stronger so she can survive this divorce, and close to me so she’s isn’t left without an emotional bond.
I can only say that I’ll have to forgive her first. Up to then, she didn’t even know that there was anything to forgive.
Unfortunately, forgiveness isn’t something that’s in my power. I have no pity for her. Knowing how vulnerable, weak, and depressed she is just a reminder of my own childhood, and only time has a chance at edulcorating the bitter taste in my mouth.
So she calls me on Saturday, pretending to need some help with her iPod, to see if I’ve forgiven her yet. If I ignore her, I become as terrible a person as she was. I only wish I could believe that she didn’t deserve it.
But I can’t.