Sunday, April 23, 2006

When I Was Late for Dinner

One day I was riding my bike home from the Jankowski’s. FAST. I was five minutes late for dinner. Late wasn’t a good idea. With my mom, late was a matter of principle.

Like my son, my mom had a way with words. When I was late, words she chose didn’t always make sense to me.

Once, when I was older I was late. She said, “If I was hanging by my thumbs for that five minutes you weren’t here, I’d be dead by now.” I still have this picture in my head of my mother in the basement hanging from the plastic indoor clothesline from her thumbs . . . Exactly who put her put there or why, I can’t say. How five minutes in that position caused death, I can’t explain either. I can say that I didn’t argue the point with my mother then, or ask her about it later.

On this day, I was riding my bike a block and a half home. FAST. I was seven and I already knew about the pattern. I was telling myself.

Every time I expect Mom to be mad she isn’t−it’s when I don’t expect her to be that she is. Please let it be true this time. Please let it be true this time.

I was pedaling as fast as I could.

I got home. I’m sure I put my bike away exactly where it belonged. I must have. I would never have been so foolish as to push my luck on that. That would have sunk my prayers for sure. I walked steely stiff, but swiftly around the sidwalk to the back door and into the kitchen. I got myself busy setting the table for dinner.

My mom was fine. The pattern held. I could finally breathe.

The pattern makes sense to me. I can almost argue how my behavior made it real.

I’m still trying to figure out where that thumb thing came from.
−me strauss Letting me be


English Good One said...

Keep writing, good stuff.

ME Strauss said...

Hi English good one.
Thanks, I appreciate the encouragement.