After we dropped my mother off at her apartment, I drove Phyllis to her home. I was meeting Blake for dinner there later. “I’m sorry that…took so long,” I said. I didn’t know where to start apologizing for my mother.
“It’s fine,” Phyllis said, smoothing her skirt, seeming to try to wipe the afternoon away. “Perhaps we can go back another time, just the two of us,” she said.
“Maybe,” I said. What I really thought was that I should find my own wedding dress. Alone.
We entered the cool exterior of my future in-laws house and I heard the distant chime of a clock, announcing the hour. Phyllis clicked away on her heels to the kitchen to check on dinner preparations that their housekeeper was preparing. She sent me to sit in the sunroom to wait for Blake. I thought back on the afternoon and cringed each time I remembered my mother. How was I possibly related to her? She was brash and loud and shameless. And embarrassing.
The phone rang and I heard footsteps. Phyllis, high heels clicking, hurried to answer it. She was in the room across the courtyard from the sunroom but since windows were open, I could hear the conversation.
“Oh Larry,” she exclaimed, addressing Blake’s father, “It was just terrible. You would not believe that woman.” She continued to outline some of the more obnoxious parts of my mother’s personality. I felt my cheeks burn and I knew I shouldn’t be eavesdropping. I decided I should just close the window. I didn’t want to hear anymore about my mother. I was more aware than anyone how embarrassing she could be. Welcome to my entire life, I thought bitterly.
Right as I was closing the window, I heard something from Phyllis though. She said, “I don’t think this is going to work.”
What wasn’t going to work? Shopping with my mother? Having a wedding with my mother involved? Or Blake marrying me altogether?
And so that was when I got mad. Yes, my mother was humiliating. She was overbearing and just…inappropriate a lot of the time. But she was my mother! She was all that I had. Who was Phyllis to say she didn’t think this would work, whatever this was.
By the time Blake walked into the room I was furious. My heart was pounding and I didn’t know if I was ready to call the whole thing off, defend my mother to Phyllis with righteous indignation, or drive back over to my mother’s apartment and yell at her. Instead, I just burst into tears.