Haired Disasters and
Riding Into Adulthood
wasnt a monster, my mother.
The last time I saw my mother was fifteen years ago. She was waving goodbye
to me from the front porch steps, her straw blonde hair in curlers, pink
fuzzy slippers adorned with electric pink pom-poms, and a somehow loveable
orange paisley mumu that accentuated her love handles. That was moving
After five long years of playing "money marionette" with her
and my father (running away when I had some and snapping right back home
when I didnt,) I was leaving. Yup. This was it. For sure. No more
relapses into adolescent angst like before. Id hooked up with "long-haired
Ted" as my father disapprovingly called him, and Ted had promised
to love and keep me for all the days of my life. He picked me up in his
turquoise '57 chevy, blue smoke marking the occasion. He had a groovy
pleather jacket and a celtic tattoo: I was sold. Despite my undying certainty
that Ted was my soul mate however, my mother had other ideas.
She wasnt a monster, my mother. The abusive kind, or the drinker.
She just had this slimy visceral way of imposing guilt on me. Guilt that
seemed to slip into my thoughts unnoticed and poison the rest like some
sort of gargantuan Amazonian tapeworm.
She used to stand barefoot and naked in the kitchen , eating peanut butter
from a wooden spoon, and then turn to greet me, unsuspecting of the fact
that this was not exactly normal behaviour. She would ask why I was ashamed
of her. It hurt her, my embarrassment. The way I would turn to see who
she was calling sweetheart at school, or duck under the monstrosity
that was her purse in the grocery store when we ran into kids from class.
I even used to forge her name on my shitty report cards in order to avoid
unnecessary contact between her and my school principal that would relate
her back to me. No, she wasnt a monster, just a bit of a freak.
Mom didnt like Ted much. Not because of his long hair, his fancy
car or his tattoo either. No, mainly because he chewed loudly. I invited
him over for dinner once to humour my father, (he insisted boys ask him
in person before taking his daughters out on dates) and apparently my
mother could barely contain her annoyance level. It was all she could
do not to rise from her seat at the table and smack his face with the
wooden peanut butter spoon, in the hopes that he would stop.
That moving day in 1968 she warned me, "Youll be back. Ted
will take off and you will come crawling back here like always."
She smiled as she said it which just pissed me off further.
I smiled back at her, though, despite myself.
I wouldnt come back.
And I didnt.
But neither did Longhaired Ted.
Two weeks after we hit the open road, Ted found Longhaired Susan and like
something out of a bad country western ditty, hit the high road swingin,
the breeze blowing kisses in their collectively long hair.
I, like melted margarine, plastered myself to the next loser I met, and
ended up here. Curlers in my hair, eating peanut butter from the jar off
a butter knife, I am a vision to behold after sunset.
Though I never physically returned to my mothers house, I guess
she was right. I returned in ways I never thought I would. The only upside
is, paisley dresses are coming back into style.
© Heather Neale December 2002
See also Songbird
Fiction in DREAMSCAPES
Previously by Heather on hackwriters
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