I was walking home alone, lost in memories of the day and what I would find when I got back home. I looked around wearily, pulling my coat tighter around me. My mind buzzed with rules and measurements, I muttered the combinations and ingredients under my breath. Hoping I didn’t forget them for the exam the following week.
I turned a corner and walked towards my small apartment which I shared with the only family member I had left, my mother. I had no choice but to let her move in. It was hard for her living alone since dad died, it was too lonely for her. I agreed that she could move in with me. At first it was fine, she helped with the cooking and the cleaning. It wasn’t a very big apartment but it fit two people.
I remember the day everything changed like it was yesterday. She approached me one evening and asked if she could have some friends over. I was happy that she wanted to hangout with friends, which she hadn’t done in a while and agreed. But what I didn’t expect was what they’d be doing. My mother and her friends weren’t exactly young, they were all in their early sixties.
I had set up some quiz books and some cooking supplies in case they wanted to bake. Like today I had a big test coming up the day her friends had come over and stayed in my room to study.
I heard the doorbell ring and guessed they had arrived a little early. I turned back to my work in front of me. Five minutes or so passed and I heard a high pitched squeal. I jumped out of my seat and ran into the living room.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” I demanded, looking around.
“Oh it’s nothing, Jessie here just brought over some magazines,” Mom said simply. I saw in Jessie’s hand was a teen boy magazine. I stood there in momentary shock, looking from the magazine in her hand to the sixty year old women in my living room.
“Okay, well I’ll be in my room if you need me,” I replied, backing out of the room. I returned to my work.
It was half past eight when my stomach rumbled. I walked into the kitchen, what I found left me dumbfounded. All over the walls were covered in flour and eggs. I heard obnoxious giggling coming from the corner. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, turning towards the sound I saw mom and her friends covered in flour and eggs.
“What happened here?” I said through gritted teeth.
“She did it!” they all cried in unison.
“You know what, just clean this mess up and after that you’re going home,” I said irritated. They looked disappointed but did as they were told. I stomped back to my room and sank onto my chair, trying to regain focus on my studies, but it was no use.
I closed my books and stuffed them into my bag. Right when I was about to lay on my bed when mom came bursting in, smelling heavily of my fruity and lavender perfume, covered from head to foot in raw eggs and flour.
“Look what they did to me!!” she whined. I rolled my eyes and without saying anything I walked into the kitchen and found her friends were howling with laughter.
“Out of the house! Get out!” I screamed, their laughing replaced with a frightened look on their faces. They shuffled out of the kitchen looking at their feet, leaving me standing there breathing hard.
I went back to my room without another word, still breathing hard. I couldn’t believe what was going on, one minute they’re sweet old ladies the next they’re wrecking havoc like…like teenagers. I groaned aloud, it was enough to handle school, but handling grown teenagers… I shuddered at the thought.
Hoping that it would all be a dream when I woke up, I closed my eyes falling into a dreamless sleep.
That was only the beginning of what was to be a nightmare, several more times that week her friends came over and they gave each other makeovers and mani pedis. I braced myself for what I would find when I opened the door.
I stepped over the threshold taking off my coat and hanging it up. I paused, listening for any sounds of commotion, but heard nothing. Thinking that this could not be a good sign I walked into the living room and found mom and her friends sitting at the coffee table sipping tea.
“There she is!” one of her friends cried.
“Slow down Miriam we don’t want to scare her,” replied the one with sandpaper skin.
“Fine Jacky, I just can’t wait to get started,” said the one called Miriam, she wore a greedy expression.
“Um...what’s going on?” I asked nervously.
“Oh nothing dear, we just wanted to show you something,” my mother said in a false sweet voice.
“C-can you show me later? I have a lot of school to get done,” they’re all staring at me, unblinking an eerie smile on their faces.
“It will take only a moment,” the one sitting at the very back said. I turned to leave the room when I felt a hand close around my wrist. I turned and saw Miriam holding me.
“Let go of me!” I cried, trying to pull out of her grasp. They only shook their heads, my heart filled with fear, I didn’t know what they were going to do, I had to get out of there. Before I could think of anything they shoved me into a chair. I could feel them wrapping ropes around my torso and arms.
I saw them holding something that looked colorful and sparkly. I felt a sharp pain in my left eyes as if someone jabbed it with their finger.
“Careful! Close your eyes Leah!” hissed someone near my right side, I did not hesitate to do so, not wanting to witness what they would do to me. I could feel something cold and smooth around and on my lips. I stuck my tongue out and tasted something between cardboard and butter. They were putting something of flour consistency on my cheeks, I breathed in through my nose and caught a blast of the powder which made me sneeze.
“Oh how cute, she sneezes like a kitten,” commented Jacky. I did my best to form my face into a scowl, which was hard as they were now putting something wet and painful on my eyebrows. They added a few more globs of stuff when they finally told me to open my eyes and they were holding up a mirror. I stared back at my reflection in horror. I looked like a clown, red lipstick smeared across my face, bright blue eyeshadow, my cheeks looked like they had been in the sun too long. My eyebrows were the worst of them all, they looked like tree trunks.
Everyone around me looked as though this was the best makeover they’d done. I realized they had untied me. I closed my eyes, trying to calm myself, it didn’t work. I stood up. Standing up, fists clenched, moving towards my mother.
“I would like a word,” I said through gritted teeth. She was no longer smiling but followed me into the hallway.
“What were you thinking?” I said in a hushed voice.
“Well...we just wanted to have some fun,” she replied in a weak voice.
“You didn’t consider that I have the biggest test of my education coming up? If I don’t pass this one they won’t continue my scholarship,” I said, raising my voice.
“I-I’m sorry, I-I didn’t realize…”
“Obviously, you haven’t realized anything since you’ve brought your friends over. You’ve started acting like teenagers,”
Mom looked down at her feet, not speaking.
“I-I didn’t know we were a bother,” she muttered, still looking at her feet. This time I couldn’t take it anymore, my anger bubbling over.
“You haven’t had a single thought about anything!” I yelled, “I’ve put up with your recklessness! Who cleaned up the kitchen? Me! Who fixed everything after you all destroyed my house? Me! Me! Me! I’ve let you stay in my house, but you’ve done nothing to repay the favor.” I was breathing heavily, staring my mom right in the face.
“A-are you kicking m-me out?” mom asked in a feeble voice.
“Yes, find out if you can stay with one of your friends,” I replied, not waiting for an answer I walked into the bathroom and slammed the door behind me.
I washed the ridiculous makeup off my face. I tried to get what just happened out of my head and clear it for my studies but by the time I got to my room I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. So instead of studying I sat on my bed, scrolling through my phone. There was a soft knock on my door, I didn’t say anything.
“I’ve packed all my things I’m leaving now,” came my mothers voice. Again I said nothing, instead I rolled onto my side still on my phone. I fell asleep soon after this.
The next day I was one of the quietest days I’ve ever had, no old teenagers making a ruckus. I was able to study without interruption and I passed my test.
I was lying on my bed after a long day and started to think back to the day I kicked my mother out and all the times her friends had come over. How they tied me to a chair, made a mess in the kitchen.
I somehow found myself thinking about my days as a teen, thinking how much I acted like my mother was...she’d never lost her temper with me, or thrown me out. The days she was hanging out with her friends were the happiest I’d seen her since dad died. I felt horrible about what I did. I decided I’d call her in the morning and explain how I was wrong and invite her back.
I woke up early the next morning, even though I knew she wouldn’t be up this early. I paced back and forth waiting until midday. It seemed as if the clock was moving slower than usual, when it finally hit 12 I dialed my moms phone number and waited for her to pick up. Ring, ring, ring, “Hello?”
“H-hey mom, look I thought about what I did to you and I’m sorry we can work something out and you can come back and live with me,” I blurted out. There was silence on the other end, I waited with bated breath for a reply.
“I- of course I’d love to, and I’m sorry that my friends and I were a bother, we’ll be more civilized from now on,” my mom replied, her voice quivering with excitement. I let out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding.
“That’s great, you can start moving back tomorrow, and about your friends, you can still have fun the way you like, I just ask that when I’m studying you do it somewhere else,” I said, giving a small laugh.
“Sounds like a deal, I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said, hanging up. I went about my day as normal, feeling a considerable amount lighter.
The next day it was easy to move her stuff as she didn’t take much with her. Over the next few days it was as if nothing had happened, she went over to her friends house to hang out, occasionally bringing them here with my consent, sometimes I even joined in with their games.
“Thanks for letting me move back in,” Mom said one evening during dinner.
“Well it was pretty quiet around here and I knew what I did was wrong,” I replied, setting down my fork. We stared into each other's eyes, each full of love. Soon we were in each other's arms, in a tight embrace. There’s nothing like a mothers embrace.