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Her son was reclined on his futon bed, chatting animatedly with one of his “buddies”- he had many “buddies”- planning a graduation bash at some risque hotel. The closet door was wide and broad, hiding over half of one wall. Piled, loose-leaf papers cluttered his scuffed, pine desk, leading to a long forgotten model plane with the letters “MSU” painted on it. The mother took a deep, shaky breath and spoke in a voice any child who ever got in trouble would know.
“Jeremey, I need to talk to you. Now.” He didn’t even blink, she thought.
“One sec, Mom. I’m on the phone with one of my buddies.” His legs stretched out lithely, slipping under the chrome armrest.
“I said now and I mean now. Hang up the phone.” She crossed her arms with a certain finality that caught his attention. The phone was shut off.
“What could be so important? Who died?” The sarcasm didn’t reach his dark chocolate brown eyes. His mind was scattered trying to figure out what she had discovered. She’ll tell me so enough, he concluded.
“When I was rummaging through the recycling for the paper, I found something. You want to guess what it was? It’s a real doosie.” She uncrossed her arms then, anxious for his response, but keeping a severe tone.
“A coupon for Barnes and Noble. No, no, wait, on hundred dollars off at Pier One.” He knew his attempt at some comic relief were futile. Why, then, did he try to lie to his own mother? he didn’t want to hurt her. It was so simply, yet so difficult. His feet started to bounce rhythmically against the maroon wall.
“No. You know i thought you wanted to go to college. You planned to go to business school. You planned to be a bulldog at Mississippi State. You planned and planned and planned. What-”
“Mom, please let me explain. I love you and-”
“You’re on drugs. That’s what. I knew the signs; just didn’t want to believe...” Her voice became inaudible as she stared at the loose paper tilting ever-so-slightly to the left.
“I’m not on drugs. It has nothing to do with narcotics or alcohol. Just let me -”
“Okay, you’re not on drugs. That’s always good. No alcohol is good too. So explain to me why you didn’t even show me the acceptance letter.”
“I was getting to that, but before I do ; I love you so much and-”
“Just tell me.” She crossed her arms again, shifting her weight toward his drumming feet.
“If you would just stop interrupting me, I will. Okay, so this is what happened-”
“I do not interrupt you. What are you even talking about? Just get to the point.” A pout formed on her frustrated face, making her eyebrows pull together. Then, just like she asked, the explanation came flooding out as faster than the water at Niagra Falls.
“I’m engaged and we both got accepted into UCLA and I’m moving to California and I didn’t want to disappoint you but I want to travel.” He paused before sheepishly adding, “I love you.”
She took in a deep breath and explained to her son that since he chose this path he would have to stay on it. She explained that he wouldn’t have a home to go to for the holidays, and he would have to move out by his eighteenth birthday. As she explained all this, her son- no the boy who used to be her son- nodded solemnly.
“I really do love you, Mom.”
His voice was wavering, the tears only drained out when she strode out of the room, which was exactly when the tears escaped her eyes, too.