"Your mom is gone and she is not coming back, ever. She finally told me the truth." dad said as I put my back pack on the table when he realized that mom was not coming back. We live in a quite neighborhood where everyone knows who lives there. It is a place where families tend to their young and the young grow older and they buy their own homes across the street from their parents if they are lucky. There are not that many offices or industrial buildings, it is just homes surrounded by shops and fitness clubs.
My mom and dad moved here after my dad was hired by a large company which mines steel and sell parts made of steel. Mom was not interested in having a career of her own. She wanted babies and a home to clean.
We went to school like all other neighborhood kids and learnt our manners like every other family. My mom was moody and unsatisfiable. No matter how much we tried to please her she was not buying it. We attributed her moodiness to nerves. Adults usually complain about having nerves if they don't want to be accountable for their misbehavior or ill will. She had nerves or she had migraines or she was just in a bad mood. We were never sure what it would be on any given moment.
My dad, a very conservative man walked slowly all the time as if he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Once upon a time he had friends with whom he had conversations with. Lately he kept to himself because of many incidents of my mom announcing her dissatisfaction with herself, her life, her kids and I think that there was an argument which also included her dissatisfaction with her husband, my dad, an angel a pure soul from heaven who barely spoke to us, was the source of her disapproval. I once asked him why he never said anything to any of us. He smiled and said "I am safer not saying anything to any of you kids than risk hurting you. I think I hurt your mom. Have you noticed how angry she is at me. I don't want that with you kids."
I felt ill upon hearing that. I wished that I never said anything to my dad. What possessed me to ask him such a question? I didn't know what to do. I thought that I was like all of my other friends who had parents who were 'normal'.
My parents wanted us to think that they were 'normal' but they were no 'normal'. My dad drove us to church, while my mom was disillusioned with the church and Jesus Christ. She did not mind sitting at home with a glass of wine on a Sunday prayer day. While my dad never failed to answer politely any question by anyone at church about her whereabouts. "She has pain on her shoulder."
"You do know that she was in a car accident, she is still recovering." He would say and shuffle us kids and smile not wanting to be asked any more questions or for a phone number. We all would rush to the car and drive like we were not at church. I waited for the day when my dad would get fed up with such questions and say what was on his mind which I think was "damned if I know."
Usually we would arrive at home and find mom with an apron setting the table for brunch. She would ask what scripture was read at church. We would tell her and she would start smoking. We would sit down and eat our meal. Almost all Sundays were made up of such a ritual, we knew we could count on this routine. Soon my mom would be done eating and she would ask us to finish up, clear the table and let her rest. What that meant was she had to sit in the lounge and nurse her glass of wine while smoking. I felt sorry for her when I realized that she would never stop doing that. It was to become her life.
"I don't want to be married to you, Bob." my mother once said to my dad after my dad walked back to the kitchen from the backyard. He had swept the floor and had taken the trash to the large container where we threw away trash. He sat down and looked at my mom square on the face. "Excuse me." he said
" I don't want to be married to you anymore." she repeated.
"Today, you don't want to be married to me or just in general." ,my dad said seriously confused.
"I have thought about it for a long time. I don't want to be married to you anymore." she said with more certainty.
"Do you want the kids or you no longer want them too?" my dad asked seriously unsure where my mom was going with her announcement. He did not expect it. Maybe he did, he at that moment did not have the guts to face what he already knew.
"I have thought about it. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. I think that I am gay. At first I thought that I was bisexual. I think that I am gay. I am sure of it." my mom said.
"Is it because of college or is it because of the same sex marriage bill passing to become law." my dad said hopefully as if that was the reason, then it would be an understandable reason.
"No, I have for a long time suspected that I am gay. I loved you too much to want to face it. The kids are older now and I can see that my dissatisfaction with myself is creating a distance between me and the kids." my mom said
"That is selfish. What now, I should be grateful that I was able to coup your sexual feelings to other women for enough time to have kids and then not long enough to die together in each other's arms?" my dad said as a matter of fact.
"No, it is my fault. Honestly it is not you it is me. I knew that I was gay. I just did not have the energy or the courage to figure out what that meant for me or my future or others who are or were in my life." my mom said and continued. " I take full responsibility for my choices. I cannot put you through such a lonesome life as I have. You need a soulmate and I am not yours." my mom said breaking all of our hearts. By then we were all sitting behind the door listening as our lives unraveled before our eyes.
"Well what are your plans, if I may ask?" my dad asked. Men can tell if they will not win and my dad was closing the hurt that was my mom as soon as he could.
"I have looked at apartments. I think that I have found one to my liking. If you don't mind keeping the kids I prefer that they stay with you for a while until we can all catch our breaths." my mom said
"Thanks for telling me. I am sad of course. I wish that you had told me sooner or the first time you doubted yourself. The kids can stay with me. I will call my lawyer tomorrow. How much is the rent and how much do you need. How soon do you plan to move out. Who will tell the kids?" my dad asked
"The kids are listening by the door. We don't need to tell them anything. They already know. This week probably will be best for me. I also need to see a doctor." my mom said carelessly. My dad eyed her with a sharp eye. He knew this move that my mom uses, from a frying pan into the fire, stance!
" I bet you don't want us to know why you have to see a doctor. It is best if we didn't. One problem at a time! Okay, I will set everything up for you by tomorrow. I am happy that you finally figured out what the problem is. I was worried that life was going to be as dull as mine has been for the past decade. At least now I have a reason why my life was so rotten. Good to meet you." my dad said sarcastically and opened the door knowing that we were sitting behind the door listening.
"Kids you heard your mom." dad said
"What will the neighbors say." I asked.
"The neighbors will say that my wife left me for a woman." my dad said and walked away.
By the end of the week my mom was out of there like she had planned it all along. We took over her role and acted as though we never needed her or heard of her.
She called us a couple of times seeking information about how dad was doing. We felt like she was checking if he too had a secret of his own. Poor dad, all that he did was wake up, go to work return home cry and go to bed. He had nobody. He tried to call my mom and beg her to return and offered to let her have "her" in the house too and we all can be a "large happy family". My mom was insulted by that and hung up the phone.
Soon everyone knew that my mom left.
"Hey, you guys we saw your mom with a woman at the mall." one of our 'friends' said.
"That was not a woman, that was my aunt, my mom's sister!" I said. I am still disgusted at myself for saying that!