Unrelated – Part II

Part II, comin’ at ya…

            My plan to welcome Judith to the country with a bit of home-prepared bubble & squeak was instantly shot down. I thought I’d do all right, but Mags thought that we should ease her mother into traditional English cuisine. As Maggie’s specialty is pouring milk over a bowl of cold cereal, we thought it best to leave dinner to someone else. We decided to order pasta take away.

            Our conversation remained superficial until Judith brought up her other children. After hearing that “North Carolina is so beautiful this time of year,” and “Katie’s all moved into her lovely new apartment overlooking the Capitol,” we wondered why she was here visiting. Judith had been in our home for almost an entire day and not yet had she mentioned the oak floors, the high ceilings, or the antique end tables, as Maggie would have preferred.

*            *            *

            “You’re not even paying attention. Patrick!” she yelled. “You have to help me.” 

            I found the shirt I had been looking for in the dryer and put it on, along with my tattered blue and white scarf.

            “Mags, look, I’ll only be a while. Match is right up the street at The Lane and we’re meeting for drinks when it’s finished, anyway.”

            I kissed her forehead and she whined, “It will only get worse with you gone. She’s been holding back, you know.”

            “I’m sure she has. Maybe try a new approach and sort some of it out. Don’t forget, the Albert at half seven. I’ve got to be off or I’ll miss the start. It’s Man City this week,” I said, genuinely enthused. I was excited because Tottenham had a sporting chance to win this one.

            She grumbled, “Go Spurs. Please don’t leave me alone with her.”

            It was the last thing I heard as I shut the front door and headed up the street.

            After the drink I’d planned to have with the girls turned into a couple of pints alone, I decided to head home. My arrival was met with, “Mom! Will you stop it! You are trying to pick a fight.”

            “I’m doing no such thing. I’d simply like to know when I can expect grandchildren.”

            “And I don’t have a better answer for you! Kids just aren’t something we want right now.” Maggie inhaled deeply, and then continued in a more even tone, “Is this why you’re here? Couldn’t you have lectured me over the phone? Were you bored?”

            “Oh, Margaret, you’re getting all worked up over nothing. I simply wanted to see my daughter. I heard such lovely things from Katie about your little life here that I thought I’d see for myself. Now, maybe you think I should apologize for not visiting sooner, but you were the one who moved an ocean away. “

            Maggie didn’t attempt to conceal the epic eye roll that followed.

            From there, Judith moved from one topic to another, like she was searching for a weak spot. I am normally a quite sensitive person, but everything she brought up was so ridiculous, I only teetered on the edge of being offended. I just stood and listened. As if I wasn’t even in the room, she began to lay into me. She criticized my accent, my dress sense, my “pathetic excuse for an automobile”, and took many shots at my Irish heritage; my ability to drink, my inevitable alcoholism – all the usual stereotypes. After a while, I became upset that Maggie was not even making an effort to combat her mother. I waited for the elder woman to finish ranting, while my wife just let her carry on. I tried to interject, but was effectively “shushed” by Maggie on both attempts. Eventually I’d had enough and decided to let the two have it out. I retreated to the bedroom balcony. As I made my escape, I overheard Judith say to her daughter, “Seemed a bit too easy, don’t you think,” sounding all too pleased. During my ascent up the stairs, I couldn’t help but feel defeated and a bit angry with myself for not stepping in.

            Only at the threat of rain and after I felt I’d done a fair bit of pouting, I came inside to find Maggie sitting on the edge of the bed. She apologized in an “it’s not my fault, though” sort of way and we took turns getting ready to turn in. We slept at opposite sides of our own bed.

*            *            *

An, whammo! Just like that, I’m going to make you wait for part III. If you’ve stuck with me this long, I think you’ll find the conclusion worth the wait. Ta!

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One Response to Unrelated – Part II

  1. Pingback: Unrelated reposted « Ye Olde Blighty

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