I don’t know why my mother thinks that she should arrange my social life for me. I am a responsible adult after all. I have a good job, that pays well enough for me to have a nice apartment where I can live by myself and not with her. And I am thirty years old. Yet, she still thinks she should make social arrangements for me.
A tea party of all things! She wants me to go to a tea party. Although my name is Alice, I don’t fancy drinking tea with some old queens, not unless I can be the one to say, “Off with their heads”. But that is unlikely.
I love my mother dearly, and know that she usually has my best interests at heart, even if not the best in mind. That makes it quite difficult for me to say “no” when she offers up something wacko like this, particularly, like now, when she is being so incredibly persistent. And, when she first proposed this, on Monday, I wasn’t fast enough in response to say that I had something else that I had to do this coming Friday.
She uses the ‘but you loved tea parties when you were a little girl’ argument. I do not respond with, “And I also loved pulling the bottom of my dress over my head and shouting that I was a naked ghost, or any of the other silly things I did when I was a little girl. I know for sure that would get me nowhere with her. She would dismiss my reply with a ‘pish posh’ for sure.
I know that she worries about my lack of a thriving social life, and the fact that I am not in any kind of serious relationship right now, and haven’t been for a while. She was so supportive when my only ever good relationship, between Les and I, was going strong. And she felt so very bad when Les took the big career move involving going to live in the big city 100 miles away, too far for a relationship. I was heartbroken, but still understood Les’s motivation. Les had been wanting such a job for a long time, and did not feel there would be another chance. And I was too rooted in my job to drop it after so many years, on the off-chance that I would get another. Not me, but my mom tried to talk Les out of it, but to no avail. It has been five years now. There has been no one since, not even close, and I fear (as does my mother), that there will not be another.
It is not just that a tea party will be boring, which I totally expect it will be. I can imagine all of mom’s friends asking me questions that I do not want asked. ‘Do you have any children? Are you married? Why aren’t you married?’ These will doubtless be followed by talking in stage whispers, with “Poor Angela (my mother’s name). She will never have any grandchildren. Alice is so selfish. She will never grow up” and the like.
Angela Pleads Her Cause
It’s Friday noon. I’m on my lunch break, quietly sipping Yorkshire tea and munching on cranberry biscuits that mom made for me, the kind of biscuits that she knows that I absolutely love. Last night, I told her that I went to the movies. This was to keep her from calling me and asking me yet again to come to the tea party. When I got to work, I turned off my cell phone, so I could avoid any last-ditch pleas on her part. But I forgot. I forgot that she knew my office phone number. She had never used it before, always calling me on my cell. Perhaps she was aware of my strategy. She is a clever woman, is Angela.
The office phone rings, and I answer it, not thinking that it could be my mother. “Alice, this is your mother talking with you. You simply must come to the tea party tonight. You’ll regret it if you don’t. There is a very special surprise that will be waiting for you there. And I have baked a fresh batch of the cranberry biscuits that you have loved so much ever since you were a little girl.”
I quickly gulp down the biscuit that had been in my mouth when I picked up the phone. It was like I was thinking that she would know I was eating one, which would strengthen her argument.
“Special surprise eh mom. I guess you couldn’t be persuaded to tell me what it is.”
“That would spoil the surprise dear.”
She never liked surprises being spoiled, did my mother.
My lunch hour is slipping away, my biscuits have been eaten, my tea drunk. Still mom keeps on presenting her case. Finally, I relent.
“Okay, mom, I’ll go to your tea party, but you’ll owe me one.”
“No, dear, you’re going to owe me one.
Throughout the afternoon I wonder what she meant by that, but cannot come up with any reasonable answer.
Going to a Tea Party
It’s six o’clock on a Friday night. I should be going somewhere to have fun. But no, I’m going to a tea party with my mother and her friends. My car is in for repairs, so mom is driving me there. That probably means that I will have to stay there for the entirety of the tea party, not something I am looking forward to.
There are several cars there already. They look like ‘old lady’ cars except for one. It is a red convertible Mustang. Maybe someone is having a late life crisis. I run my hand along the side of it as we pass it by. My mother looks at me and smiles. I wish that the Mustang could be my yet unspoiled surprise. But that is unlikely.
We go inside. There are older women gathered around the several tea pots on the table. Also on the table are several stacks of cranberry biscuits. I plan to pig out, and point to my mouth if someone asks me one of the embarrassing questions that I am anticipating.
One person who is facing the opposite direction appears to be quite different from the others. She is taller, definitely younger, and she is standing beside the token coffee maker put there for the non-conforming. Then she turns around! It is Les, my dear Leslie!
I ask the obvious and hopeful: “Have you returned for good?” She smiles with a full-face grin, walks over to me, gives me a huge hug, and whispers “yes’ in my ear. It’s not exactly tea for two, but it is ‘you for me and me for you’.