My mother is a saintly woman. She’s the dainty wife to my father who was lucky enough to snag the former beauty queen over 40 years ago. She was always the problem solver, always knew the right thing to say, never gave a hug that wasn’t full of love… and wasn’t afraid to kick my ass (literally) when it was called for.
I was 19 and just starting to exert some form of rebellion. I was attending a junior college so I still lived at home. I also, much to my parent’s dismay, had acquired a girlfriend!! Shocking for me who a mere four years ago couldn’t put together a distinguishable sentence when a girl told me she liked my hat!
Her name was Marshmallow Wings, or something like that… I can’t remember. She was really the first girl that aggressively pursued me and consequently, faced with female affection for the first time, I fell “in love” with her.
This scared my parents half to death. I lived in this fantasy world where everything played out in my mind like a movie. Somewhere in my mind I played this relationship out like the movie “Say Anything” i.e. our love was going to stand the test of time, we were meant to be together, I was going to profess my love to her one day by holding a boombox over my head, etc. etc. etc.
I also wanted a cool, tan colored trench coat.
High school (or immediately following high school in my case) romances are a joke. Looking back on what I know now… I didn’t know a flying case of crap balls what I was doing. But at that point… you couldn’t have convinced me otherwise.
Quick note… I’m not saying high school romances don’t ever work out. My sister is a prime example of it flourishing (25 years and 12 kids!). I’m just stating “as a whole” most high school romances don’t stand the test of time… especially for little shitheads like me.
Anyway, I was 19 and wanted to exert my freedom. I wanted to stay out late and come home when I wanted to. I was 19 and officially an adult. Just because I lived in my parent’s house still didn’t mean I had to abide by their rules, right?
I usually was ordered to come home midnight or so because as my father always said, “Nothing healthy happens after 10 P.M.”.
I hated this. I wanted to be like some of my friends whose parents could care less when they came home. I usually left Marshmallow Wings in a heap of sadness because I couldn’t stand up enough to my parents to stay just a little bit later with her.
One evening, during winter break, I figured I had kept my streak of returning home on time long enough. I did not give my mother a time of when I was going to be returning. Rather… when she presented me with a time of 2 A.M. to be home, I vaguely agreed with her that it would be somewhere around 2 A.M.. I thought I created some cloud of doubt that I was actually going to be home at 2 A.M… and it was implied I was going to be home later. The fact my mother said nothing… was my confirmation that she understood.
I left to go to Marshmallow Wings’ house around 8 or 9 P.M. I came home around 4 A.M.
I turned off the lights to my truck as I pulled in our driveway and gently coasted into my parking space. I lightly opened and closed the door to my truck as I got out and tip-toed to the front door.
I wanted to make as little sound as possible so as not to wake up my parents.
I moved as though I was being watched by a motion activated security camera. I extracted the keys from my pocket and stuck the key into the back door like I was picking the lock to a safe.
A good five minutes later I was in the house and shutting the door behind me like it was made of paper mache… any overly tense move and it would shatter.
Finally, I turned around and was faced with total, utter darkness. The back door immediately opened into the kitchen so all I could really see were the vague outlines of the kitchen table and chairs. My eyes were still trying to adjust to the complete blackness in the house as compared to the moonlit darkness outside.
This is what it looked like in the house.
I stuck my arms out to grab the wall and get my bearings as I started to make my way back to my bedroom.
“Good. They’re asleep.” I thought to myself, “I ‘got away’ with it”.
Just then, I saw another vague outline… only this one was moving… straight at me.
My mother pierced her shroud of darkness like a cyclops who’s been waiting for the perfect moment to pounce its prey and immediately began wailing me about my head and face.
Initially, I didn’t even have time to get startled or scared because everything happened so fast. Fear did set in though as I realized she just might kill me.
As I stumbled across the kitchen chairs and through the hallway to my room, she screamed, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN YOUR FATHER AND I HAVE BEEN WORRIED SICK ABOUT YOU WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US I AM SO MAD AT YOU YOUR FATHER HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO SLEEP AND NEITHER HAVE I!!!”
She then started kicking my ass… literally. I kid you not. She followed close behind me as I covered my head and ran for the safety of my room kicking me in the rear the whole way there.
My mother was never mean to me, she never raised her voice at me and she NEVER EVER hit or kicked me. So… I was led to believe I must have REALLY pissed her off by not coming home when I said I was… not when I implied I was.
Once I reached the safety of my room, I quickly realized that like a rabid dog she did not care that I had reached my room. She crossed the invisible line of privacy and entered my sanctum to continue her pummeling of me while I tried to get a word in edgewise.
I eventually got enough space between me and my enraged mother that I was able to separate us by means of a locked bathroom door. She briefly pounded the door to the bathroom as she had done to my head, face and ass cheeks just moments before.
She eventually finished venting her frustration with me, my head, face, ass and bathroom door. She said one final thing through the bathroom door… and I honestly don’t remember what it was. I think it had something to do with more physical harm if I ever lied like that again… but I’m not sure. I was too busy huddling in the corner of the bathtub waiting for the door to get kicked down and the pounding to start again.
My mom can kick your moms ass…
Eventually, after several minutes of silence, I assumed she had gone back to bed. But I wasn’t willing to test my theory. I was too scared to leave the bathroom for fear of my skull getting cratered, my chest getting collapsed or some kind of decapitation so I pulled up the bath mat and laid there until the sun came up.
I think in my heart of hearts I knew I got what I deserved. Any incident I created that resulted in my mother, the Mother Theresa of mothers, kicking my ass to prove a point must have been warranted. She was only extremely worried about me and in a day and age before cell phones… her mind could have only gone so many places she didn’t ever want to think about.
A few months later, Marshmallow Wings broke up with me. My mother wiped my tears away and assured me that life would go on despite the “only person I was ever going to love” was now gone. The memories of her beating the snot out of me were now replaced with more familiar memories of her caring for me when I needed her the most.
My mother has looked up at me and told me how much she loves me many times since that incident. I know she did it out of frustration and fear that her youngest was dead in a ditch somewhere instead of home in bed where he should be. A fear I know now to be very real with a one and a half year old daughter aging faster than fruit fly before my very eyes.
I know that there’s a possibility moments like this may occur as my little girl grows into a young woman… a future I’m not willing to think too deeply about at the moment. But if it does happen… it’s not going to be my kitchen I’ll be waiting in.
It’ll be his.
With a Louisville Slugger.
And a chainsaw.
Who knows… if she hadn’t kicked my ass… I may have never found myself in this wonderful position