What Mom Brought To Dinner

December 18, 2007
My mother had been divorced for only three months, so I was surprised to hear that she had already found a boyfriend. Even more surprising was that he was about to come over to our house. I admit I was a bit skeptical at first. The idea that she might get married was quite frightening, but I quickly warmed up to the idea of a man in the house.

I had pictured him as my last dad, caring, fun, but always strict on rules. With my mother alone again, those things collapsed. We rarely had any fun, mom was always in a particularly unpleasant mood, and rules had all but disappeared, and I wanted them back.

I was sitting on our little blue couch, and the waiting seemed as though it would never end. But, at long last, there was a knock at the door. My mother had described her special friend in such high esteem that when I first glanced at him, I had to take a second look. Standing in the doorway was this small, rugged man who appeared to be in his late thirties. He appeared to be balding, as well. It was as if the hair on his head had migrated to his back. The vision of the perfect dad began falling apart at the seams.

My mother was quick to introduce everyone. His name was "John," and they had met through an online dating service call “Hook-up Online”. Evidentially, my mother was surprised at his appearance, as well. I later found out that while they were chatting on-line, he had said he was in his twenties, was 6’ 2” tall and, much to my amusement, had sent a full body shot that wasn’t even of him.

Mom invited him in anyway. My brother and I just watched him, scrutinizing every detail, hoping that the first impression we had received wasn’t correct. I began hoping, praying that this would still turn out well. I wanted to have a dad again so much that I could barely contain myself.

Mother gave my brother the privilege of touring John through our home while I prepared a spot at the table for dinner. I remember smelling the lasagna cooking in the oven, while mom got out the silver wear. For a moment, I thought that things would turn out just fine, that is, until we heard a loud crash.

Mom ran into the hallway to find her favorite family photo on the ground. She acted as though nothing big had happened, but when tears went into her eyes, I could tell she was heartbroken. I ran into the hallway to see what had happened just in time for John to accuse my brother. Though my brother pleaded with mom not to ground him, saying that John had broken it and how it wasn’t his fault, mom still found him guilty and grounded him. As I watched my brother leave towards his room, I couldn’t help but feel that he was telling the truth. I began to think that mom felt the same way.

Finally, after a hectic night, it was time to eat. I was about to get my brother when John asks where the bathroom is. Mom agreed to get my brother and I showed John to the bathroom.

Once we get there, I told John I would be in the kitchen, and to come in when he had done his business. Of course, I didn’t really go back. I hid in a closet across the hall. He was up to something and I wanted to know what.

After he’d gotten done, he turned off the light and left the room. He didn’t even bother to wash his hands. I continued watching through the slits in the door when he made an unexpected turn. Instead of heading towards the kitchen, he hung a left to mom’s room. He later walked out…holding my wallet!

With his back turned, I quickly ran past him towards the kitchen. I knew that mom had high hopes for John, so did I, but she had to know what an evil person he was.

Before John came in, I told mom the entire story, and this time, she sides with family. He walks into the room, expecting a meal cooked with love, but instead is greeted by an angry mother saying, “Empty your pockets.”

John tried to play it off, asking if it was a joke, but mom wasn’t laughing. I sat there smiling, knowing that he was finally going to get what he deserves. Mom persists on John emptying his pockets, and next thing I know, mom asked us to leave the room and at the time, disobeying would be the worst mistake to make. My brother and I head to our rooms, knowing that an argument would ensue any moment, and sure enough, it does.

My brother and I sat in our little rooms, traumatized by the actions unfolding just behind our bedroom walls. I had never heard such language in my life. I kept expecting to wake up in my bed to realize it was all a dream, but it never happened. Across the hall, I could hear my brother crying up a storm, and in all honesty, I felt like crying as well.

That battle between them waged on for what seemed like an eternity. Every other word was “F” this and “F” that, all the while, mom continued to say, “Empty your pockets!”

When the argument had finally come to a close, John gave back my wallet and left. I remember thanking God that it was all over. Mom came in teary eyed apologizing for ever letting John come over. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

After the mood had calmed, we all slipped on our shoes. We didn’t even bother staying to eat the lasagna mom had prepared for us. Instead, mom took us to one of our favorite places, Dairy Queen. Looking back on the situation, it was amazing the violence hadn’t escalated anymore than it did. I consider myself lucky that neither I nor anyone else in the house had gotten hurt that night. Even still, I’m glad that all of it happened. In an odd way, it brought the family closer together.

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