Mother’s Day

11 May

I need to hurry up and post this before it goes from just a little relevant to not relevant at all.

Sunday. Mother’s Day. I’ve come to Waxahachie, my home town, the place of my development into a post-adolescent before my exodus and further development in palatial Denton, Texas where I went from being a post-adolescent to a pre-adult to a pseudo-adult. If you’re a post-adult, you’re dead.

I wake up Sunday morning (I spent the night at my parents’ home) and get my mother’s present in order. It’s a card I purchased from Target. When I say “in order” I mean shoo the cat off of it and then wipe all the cat hair off and rub the card against something that smells normal and not like the underside of a cat who is too old and too bitterly entitled to take the time to wash anymore. I write “Mom” on the outside, so my father doesn’t find the unmarked envelope and mistake it for some sort of clue to something. I can hear the television on in the living room and the clink of glass and metal as clean dishes are being put away. I put on shorts and a shirt. I don’t usually do this. At my own home in Denton, I walk around in my manties all day. This is done with the same spirit of an animal who doesn’t cover its dung after excretion because it knows it’s the dominant predator in the region and has no reason to hide its scent. I just compared my uncovered physique to dung.

I walk out into the living room and greet my mother with a big “Happy Mother’s Day!”

I hand her her card. She opens it, smiling. She reads the outside page and then turns the card on its side and shakes it expectantly. The card offers nothing. Mother opens the card up, as if whatever she was hoping would fall out was simply stuck in its place. If she was hoping a few lines of poorly written poetry about mothers and sons would fall out–it won’t. It’s written there in real ink and not on a separate piece of paper. Internally, I kick myself for not writing the poem on a separate piece of paper.

A Mother’s Love

Mother, my mom. Bore me into this world.

Why the Hell did you do that?

It sucks here.

At least I get presents sometimes.


“Well, there’s no money,” my mom says, “but how could you afford to put any money in here with the,” she checks the back of the card “three dollars you spent on this card.” She holds her arms out for a hug. Her eyes are looking at the television, though. I lean down to give her a hug and her arms remain stretched straight out. I remain for a second, waiting to be wrapped up, but after a few seconds it’s clear that that just isn’t going to happen. I lean back and walk into the kitchen to make my breakfast.

My mother and father leave for church and I stay behind in case any of my intellectual friends are looking.

I try to read a bit, but I can’t focus, so I stop. I turn on the television. I’m supposed to be meeting my grandmother on my father’s side and some of my extended family for lunch. I assume it’s scheduled to begin at 12:30 or 1 o’ clock because my immediate family all go to church and couldn’t be expected any earlier than that.

I receive a text at 10:45 am from my cousin asking me if we’re coming to lunch.

“Yeah. When is it starting?”

“Now. We’re all here.”

“What the Hell kind of lunch starts at 10:45?”

“It didn’t.”

“So it’s not starting yet?”

“No. It started at 10:30. You guys are late.”

I feel pretty pushed out and victimized in general. I mark the meal up as a loss–I’m not dressed, I’m drinking my morning coffee and watching a rerun of SNL and don’t want to rush around to eat mediocre Mexican food on a full stomach and have four or five different people ask me what I’m up to now, their eyes going glassy as I respond.

An hour or so later, mom and dad return, a little perturbed by the lunchtime shunning. We all decide to meet my other grandmother (the one on my mother’s side) for lunch at a regular lunch time hour. I run into my room and grab my gift for my grandma.

My brother, sister and I drive our own cars and meet my parents, my grandma (my mother’s mom, father’s mother-in-law) at a mostly breakfast and lunch restaurant in Downtown Waxahachie. Pleasantries are exchanged.

My grandma asks my brother about graduate school and his upcoming marriage. He and his fiance seem to be happy and everyone relishes in this excited love. My sister rattles off a few amusing anecdotes about her son who is a little more than a baby but maybe a little less than a toddler. My parents ask if everyone’s ready to go. My sister tells them that we just got here and no one’s even ordered yet and what is wrong with them. My mom shrugs and my dad says something  incoherent about his upbringing that even he doesn’t seem to believe.

Finally, it’s my turn. “Tell me Kyle, what are you up to?” my grandma asks.

“Well,” I begin, “I just finished The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It was a book I’ve been wanting to read for awhile, but–” Nobody cares. “I finally got to read it and it was good.” Everyone seems relieved that I stopped talking so fast.

“Mom, would you like your present?” my mother asks.

“Of course!” says my grandma, clasping her hands at her chest.

“Okay,” my mother says, echoing grandma’s excitement to a lesser extent. “Here you go,” my mother says, and slides a carton of cigarettes across the table. Everyone seems confused. My brother half smiles like he thinks it may be a joke. It isn’t.

My grandma seems the most confused. “I don’t smoke, dear,” she says, forcing a smile. “And the carton’s been opened. There’s a pack missing.”

“Long drive,” my father said, a pack of cigarettes rolled into his sleeve.

“It took me six minutes to get here,” I say.

“What is time?” my mother asks me in a hushed tone, leaning over the table.

“Okay, here. Nikki and I got you something,” my brother says. His fiance reaches down between their seats and hands my grandma her present. It’s a candle. My grandma loves it.

My sister gives my grandma a set of towels.

I hand my grandma her card. It’s larger than my mother’s, and everyone at the table can tell the exact moment when my mother notices this. It’s not hard to notice because she slaps the table and yells “God damned cheap skate traitor!” at the no one in particular.

“Let’s see,” my grandma says, smiling, reading the card. “Happy Mother’s Day, grandma.” She opens the card. Inside is a cartoon rabbit saying “It’s easy to see that my good looks and intelligence aren’t a fluke.” She reads the rabbit’s line out loud, starts to read what I had written beneath, then stops. “Kyle, what does this say?”

“Yeah, ur hott” is scrawled on the card just above “Love, Kyle.”

“Kyle,” my sister admonishes me.

My mother and father are busy arguing about cigarettes.

“It’s a joke,” I say.

“I don’t like that, Kyle,” my grandma says. The meal is finished in silence.

On the way home, my mother rolls down her window and tosses her leftovers onto my car’s windshield. An explosion of pinto beans and mixed vegetables. I almost hit a family of four.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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