Mike Reuben isn’t having too good a day so far. Yes, it’s snowing, which means a day off, but his mother called to wish him a happy birthday. She can’t let the opportunity pass to remind him that he’s almost 30 and hasn’t done much with his life.
“Don’t be adding years to my age. Twenty-seven is not almost thirty!”
“Almost thirty! You’ll be thirty before I get a single grandchild from you. The fruit of your loins, the. . . .”
“Ma! I get the idea.” I totally hate when she starts like that. Fruit of the Loom, maybe I want to discuss with my mother. Fruit of my loins is not on the list of top 10 subjects for parental discussion.
“I called to tell you I’m coming for a visit,” she said quickly and hung up.
Cursing loudly, I sat there yelling at a dead phone. I called her back in a New York minute. Her tone was very smug.
“I see. Now you have time to talk to your mother.”
I didn’t say anything. Replying to that remark simply gets me in trouble and gives her more ammunition against me. I haven’t been her son twenty-seven years without figuring out a thing or two.
“I’ll be there this time next week.”
“Do I need to make arrangements to pick you up at the airport?”
“I’m not flying. I’m driving out.”
“What? How? You don’t drive!”
“I have a new friend. I’ll be riding with my friend—In a Lexus.”
“This friend wouldn’t happen to be a man, would it?”
“Why, Michael Aaron Reuben, what a question to ask!” She tried to sound appalled. She was too damn smug.
“But it is a guy. And how do you know this guy? How good a friend is he?”
“If you lived here, you’d know. Your brother has met him.”
“Good for him, Ma. Good for Gabriel, he’s met this mystery man. I’m happy for him.”
I could really care less. My little brother is a snot and I don’t like him much. He’s a couple years younger than me and the biggest suck up on the face of the Earth. If he could have his lips glued to our ma’s ass and stay there forever, he’d do it. The only woman who rides him harder is his wife, Livia. She’s a rich bitch and he’s a businessman. You can imagine theirs is a match made in Saks. In fact, I think they met there. Who knows? Who, in fact, gives a shit? Not me.
“So, this guy. . . .”
“His name is Chester.”
“Okay.” I paused. The silence asked the next question for me.
“He’s a dentist with a very good practice.”
I continued to wait for her to supply the information.
“And he’s got a nice house, a beautiful car. . . .”
“Okay. . . .”
“You could be more enthusiastic.”
“I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
“The downside of this conversation. I’m waiting for it. Like, he’s got six months to live or he’s going to prison or something.”
“You’re too sarcastic, Mikey.”
“No, Ma, me, I’m cynical. Sarcastic too, but what you’re hearing in my voice right now is cynicism, not sarcasm.”
“Don’t be a smart aleck. It’s unbecoming for a son of mine.”
“His name is Chester.”
“Yes, ma’am. You said that already.”
“I don’t like your tone, young man.”
“And I don’t like being called ma’am very much.”
“Yes, I’m aware of that.”
“Then why do you keep saying it?”
“It seemed the best way to keep out of trouble. Look, Ma—I really do need to run.”
“Your brother has a big house,” she continued as if none of the other conversation existed.
“Yes. I’ve seen it. Big house, huge, very lavish.”
“And what have you got?”
“A cramped two bedroom apartment. What’s your point?”
© Dellani Oakes 2014