It’s Sunday afternoon and I am just back from a visit to see the parents. I have not written about them in awhile because things were good, there was no strange interest in my sex life, and Thumper’s name never came up. Things seemed normal.
Today was not a good day in the sense that all of the brain waves were not quite connecting which was very apparent and frustrating as fuck as I tried to help them find that perfect TV show they have been wanting to watch, you know, “the Western one“. This vague description was all they had in addition to “you know, the last one has been advertised” and I was just lost. Of course, this led me to try to search Netflix and Hulu for them until she suddenly stopped me and they both, in agreement, said “There. That’s it“.
It was the Good Wife. The fucking Good Wife. A favorite of mine and a great show, but Alicia was not even in the western part of Chicago.
Anyway, she and I decided to walk around her big backyard that has about 30 different flower beds and areas in it so she could show me the blooms this year which, I have to say, are spectacular. Of course, it was hard to do because we would get to a certain tree or bush and she would say “I have no idea what that is but isn’t it just lovely?” and, most of the time, these were plants that had been there my entire life and, in several cases, were ones that she took starters from that are now growing in my yard. I don’t know if the tougher part of this stage of aging is on her or me, because she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know, yet I do.
But, the real fun was when we walked around the corner from my Dad where we were somewhat alone and she said “you know, this morning I woke up thinking about your friend and his wife – how are they doing?” Having very few friends with actual wives, I knew exactly that she was talking about Thumper and I just smiled at her in that “they are fine, why?“. Then, she said, “can I ask you a question about that?”, which absolutely fucking terrified me because, it was an off day brain wise and God only knows what direction that could take. I tried to distract her by commenting about an odd hydrangea and a weird bug, but that did not foil her plans in the slightest and she said “What does she get out of it? I mean, his wife? since he gets to have sex with men?” For a morning that had words had been escaping her, this phrase was spot on and deliberate, almost as if it was practiced.
I answered her by saying that I really did not know the exact answer but that they were really educated people who spent years working out their marriage and it worked for them. Then, for whatever fucking reason I thought this might be important, I said, “Well, rumor has it that she is flirting with the idea of her own boyfriend” to which my Mom just lit up in a flash of feminine pride like I had just told her Gloria Steinham herself had walked through the gate. She then said “Well, good for her. You know, I know you think I am weirdly fixated on this, but I am just glad to know that he did not bully her into letting himself play in the sandbox when she herself couldn’t go to build a castle there too”. I replied with “oh no, she controls everything about him so that would not happen” and she said, “You tell her I said, Go Girl” and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I could not fathom a situation where I would ever tell Belle that, though maybe Thump will. Of course, I started picture play in the sand and, well, that could get gritty.
By this time we were now sitting at a table hidden under the trees in the back and along comes my Dad who would just diffuse any and all bits of this talk, so, being quick on my feet, I asked him if he would mind checking the tire pressure in each of my tires knowing that it would both thrill him to be able to help me with something and take him forever all at the same time. So, as he went to get “his tools” for whatever reason he thought he had needed them, I asked her why she has been so fixated on Thumper and Belle based off of one or two actual conversations. I told her that I found it really odd and didn’t know if she was asking if I had been the boyfriend or what she was wondering about.
She looked at me and said, “Drew, you know I love your father with every bit of me and he is an amazing man, but he can be a bully sometimes, especially when he was younger, and I see a lot of us in that couple which is why I worried about them, but I had to learn to get what I wanted and I am glad she is too”.
What. The. Fuck. I loved her more at that minute than ever but also suddenly had so many questions.
I asked her if I could ask her questions about that one day and she said “Absolutely, but let’s go somewhere where your Dad won’t walk up on us. And I want some wine when we do.” I was spinning a bit in a weird pride, a weird fascination, and a weird wonder, especially because I have never once seen my mother actually drink wine.
I agreed to arrange that and then she said, “you know, I will have questions for you too because you do travel more than your dad“. I said, “I know, but Mom I am very very happy and so is Axel“. She said, “Of course you are, we didn’t raise you to be unhappy, but I need details“.
My Dad came back about then and it was getting hot so that as all I could get today. You will all be happy to know that my tires all now have equal pressure and that my Dad is wiped out. The thing about this conversation is that, for those of you who have not been following long, it may be a year before the chemical imbalance in her brain is just so that she will be able to talk about these things again, or even remember them, so I savor it and, even if I don’t have the closing to the story, I can imagine enough to know she took care of herself and, I hope, had a fling or two too.