Jul. 12, 2021

MY MOTHER--- IN NAME-ONLY.

  "The Breakup with my mother occurred soon after I completed my Great Wall journey. She announced I would be staying with her, taking care of her during her second hip replacement.

She didn't need my help; her first hip replacement was a breeze.  She had everything she needed including private nurses, household help, and a bevy of attention. She bragged about feeling like a queen.  It's important to note---My Father left my Mother with more than enough money and--- the very-best in medical insurance. 

I begged her to understand that timing was crucial.....I needed to meet with a publishing company in New York City to sign a lucrative book contract before their offer expired. I also needed to sell my condo in Pine Bluff soon because Shell Oil Company was holding a position for me back in Houston.  Nothing I said made any difference.  She told me my "career” could wait; I “owed” her and it was my time to “pay up.”  Ever the dictator, my mother laid out the rules: She would pay me 20 dollars every week for incidentals, like gas money.  Since I would be living in her house, using her utilities, eating her food…what else would I need? Then the ultimatums began: I was to stay with her twenty-four hours a day; I couldn't stay in my condominium; and--I was not to make ANY long-distance phone calls!    Like repeating my childhood, I was back in my mother's house, her prisoner and her slave.  The same-old-deadly fear gripped my neck, cutting off my breathing like a too-tight collar.   Unable to contact the Publishing Company or Shell Oil Corporation, the book deal fell through and the job offer disappeared.  Timing is everything and opportunities are only one moment in time that---waits for no one.   It didn't take long for me to see My Mother’s game plan. This was my punishment for going to China without her permission.

  After her second hip surgery, my mother returned home, the completely-helpless patient.   I waited on her hand and foot...I cooked, cleaned, did laundry, emptied her potty-chair, gave her sponge baths, answered the phone, ran errands, and shopped for groceries.  Although careful to hide my feelings, I despised being with her and my forced enslavement.  On Saturday mornings she made a ceremony of handing me one, twenty-dollar bill.  I listened as she reminded me of ALL the sacrifices she’d made through the years just so I could live on “easy-street.”   She argued with me constantly.  The food was never cooked to her liking, I never brought the morning newspaper to her soon enough, and I didn’t run the vacuum as often as she wanted.  She punished me for all the good in my life--- for being born, for being pretty, for being popular, for reminding her of my father and, for going to China.

One day I received a call from a woman wanting to see my condominium.  I walked her through my completely-furnished condominium and—without hesitation--she agreed to pay the asking price. For the first time in weeks, I felt hopeful. Two days later I signed papers at the lawyer’s office and received my check.   Returning to my mother's house, I was ill-prepared for the tantrum-from-hell.  Holding out her hand, she demanded her check.  When I asked what she was talking about, she said I owed her for all she'd done for me and she wanted HER money now!!! Sitting in the middle of the bed, she screamed and shouted, calling me one filthy, vile name after another.  The stream of insulting, degrading accusations coupled with the viciousness of her remarks had always struck fear in my heart, but--- something inside me snapped that day and for the first time ever--- I fought back, shouting:  “You ruined my childhood with your sexual abuse and dominance. You've interrupted and destroyed all my professional opportunities and you keep fighting me to get more and more. You want everything I have, everything I’ve worked for-- my entire life--  even my children!!!!  Isn’t it enough that you ruined my brother’s life and killed my father?!?!  It’s over-- you evil, heartless bitch!  Consider this your payment in-full!”  She grabbed the extended check...all my money and-- like a butterfly shedding its cocoon-- climbed out of bed and began dressing.

 As the remains of my world crumbled around me, I walked to the living room, trying to calm myself.  Minutes later without glancing in my direction, she walked past me.  It wasn't long before I heard the sound of her car backing out of the garage.  I knew she was driving to the bank to deposit my check, visible-proof of her winning.  Hours earlier she had been helpless, unable to dress herself, or walk alone to the bathroom but, like Attila the Hun, she had at-last conquered the enemy...and... it was celebration time. Now, completely in-control , she'd dressed, walked the length of the house, taken six steps down to the garage, and was now driving her car. 

Thirty minutes later, she stood in the doorway of the bedroom, where I was packing. “I put twenty dollars on the kitchen table and it’s the last twenty dollars you’ll get from me. You can stay here tonight but remember--- it’s MY house; you better be gone by 8 o’clock in the morning.  I’ll pay the moving company to move everything out of the Condo and into storage and I’ll pay the storage fees for two months.  After that, you’re on your own. If you miss even one payment, I’ll order the storage owners to put all your stuff on the street."

++++I WILL POST "THE REST OF THIS STORY" TOMORROW MORNING (July 13)....ON "SIMPLY, SALLY".  PLEASE JOIN ME THEN.  SALLY