Friday, July 02, 2010
When In Rome
Louis emerged from the Men's Room in the restaurant to hear his mother exchanging private telephone numbers with someone she met only scant hours ago.
“Please do call,” he heard her tell the woman whose name he could not remember. Something to do with Switzerland, he thought. Or was it nature?
“Let us go now, shall we?” He coaxed his mother as he helped her into her coat and nodded his goodbye to the woman. Berne? Oh, no. Fern. Her name is Fern. Nature, then.
He led his mother to the front door and before she stepped over the threshold, she turned to smile at her new friend.
“I've been told I give good phone.” she said and laughed before Louis grasped her hand and led her away.
The car ride was a quiet one, as usual. Louis glanced at his mother when he stopped at the last light before home. She moved her lips in silent conversation. Probably speaking to Father again, he thought and surprised himself by a fluttery bitterness he felt in his chest. It never was difficult for her to talk with Louis when he was a child. But as the years added growth, departure, and distance to her life, they also subtracted her ability to verbally demonstrate easiness with her son. She became shyly hesitant with the adult model. Now, after bringing her to live with him after she had escaped from the retirement center several times, their talks more closely resembled light, impersonal banter.
As he lay reading in bed later that night, Louis heard his mother laughing. Another talk with Deidre, he guessed. While pleased that his mother harbored friendship for his ex-wife, he never understood how anyone could speak for hours on the phone and enjoy it.
“Goodnight, dear,” he heard her say, then all was quiet.
Louis placed his reading glasses on the nightstand and leaned over to turn off the light. He settled into his pillows and closed his eyes. But moments later, his mother's soft pacing in her bedroom on the second floor interrupted the languid touch of his relaxation, and he sat up and turned on the light.
It's one of those nights, he thought.
Louis reached for his bathrobe, intent on going to his mother's room with tea and sitting with her in silence until she tired.
However, after looking across the room at the telephone on his desk, he shook his head. He left the bathrobe folded at the foot of the bed and walked over to his favorite chair.
His mother picked up on the second ring.
Picture courtesy of Cute and Cool BlogStuff