Monday, June 6, 2011

Like His Father

Never try to change a man.

"Why? . . . Aww c'mon, he loves me he'll change!"

"Nope, won't happen."

She tried. Sent him home when he turned up for a date in tartan golf pants and a sweaty polo shirt. He came back dressed clean but just as badly.

"What!" he asked, arms outstretched and staring down at his sartorial error, "Darling you're blue. From head to toe. Blue shirt, blue pants blue socks . . it's just so . . bloody blue."

"But it matches!" the disappointment at her disapproval clearly marked upon his face, he's become a child again with raised eyebrows and that disbelieving look, wondering why she disapproves.  She forgives and goes with him anyway even though he looks like a bus conductor.

"Can't you ever get home on time. I've never seen the first 10 minutes of a movie."

"Sorry. Got talking to Mitch in the car park."

"Shit, if I'd seen the twist at the beginning I'd have enjoyed the end. . "

Such was their life. Her trying to change his lateness, his careless dress, his lackadaisical attitude and lack of drive. She wanted him smart, ambitious, punctual. Even the way he kissed became passe and she complained.  She didn't think much when his friend found him sleeping in the car. A sign? Was he not well? He died a few weeks later, now she'd give all to see him again, all monochrome and matching. She'd sell her soul to miss the first 10 minutes of a movie.

She asked him to put the toilet seat down after he'd peed. And for fuck's sake, flush. "But I don't want to wake  people up with the flushing noise!" He left it up just to irk her. And to stop waking sleepers during the night.

"Pick up your wet towels, just hang them on the rail. And tidy your room, it stinks! What the fuck is wrong with you? Why is it so hard. These are little things, they make me happy when you do them?"

"Oh stop going ballistic. What's the big deal if I don't soak the frying pan or piss in the toilet and never flush. It's my room. Back off!" Don't you have more important things to worry about? Where's my black tie?"

"Are you kidding? Why would I know where your tie is in that Tipperary midden of a bedroom."

"I need it, I've got a wedding to go to tomorrow!"

"You're not going dressed like that?"

"What?" he says, arms outstretched with the same incredulous look. He thinks he's gorgeous in a swag of mismatched checks and stripes, all the colours of the rainbow. She raises her eyebrows this time, "Never mind, you look fine."

It's the thought of him leaving. You know, a daughter's a daughter for all of her life, a son's a son, 'till he takes a wife. Won't be long before he's lost to her or so she fears.

"You don't need me any more unless it's finding clothes, lending money, doing washing." 

"Fuck you", she thinks. Then, he mows the lawn without being asked, maintains the pool, trims the hedges. He takes out the garbage, he cooks, he hugs her like it's their last. This big bear of a boy is like his father. And she wouldn't change him if she could.

"OK, let's find your tie but can we clean this shit up while we do it?"

"Yeh. If it'll stop you whingeing." The exchange a glance and poke tongues out at each other as she reaches for his head and scruffs his short-cropped hair, still sticky with last night's gel.  Yes, it's pointless trying to change a man. It took long enough for that to sink into her thick skull.

He comes up behind her while she's washing dishes and wraps huge arms around her and his voice is soft, "Love you mum."

"Love you too" she responds as tears of deep affection well and she feels his warmth against her back .

"When are you moving out again?"

Posted for the Tenth Daughter of Memory "Mother Dearest"


  1. Aw, empty nester symptoms. It's true, the boys don't stick with you quite the way the girls do. But they never leave for good. You are always the mum.

  2. I get it, but it's not working. The sentiment does; the unfolding doesn't, if that makes sense.

    I understand that the emphasis is on the son, but I still feel a bit cheated with the paragraph about the death of the father. I also get that the dialog is intended to be expository, but it's perhaps too expository (particularly in the second half).

    Still, brave piece. Not easy stuff to get on the page.

  3. aw. you keep leaving little pieces of you around. like i do, with my socks. good shit!

  4. Wouldn't she change him just a little tiny bit :)?

  5. Um, how did the dad die? And why did you put the part about him being in the car like some foreboding scene if you're not going to expound upon that.

    I really liked the direction of this and found it VERY lacking in the "meat" department. It's like a plate of a bunch of not-so-filling side items when all you really wanted was some brisket.

    This could have been GREAT. Instead, it's eh. And knowing how great YOU could have written it makes it that much more eh.

    That said, I <3 Baino! :oD

  6. Nice sentimental drift. I got a little confused with who said what, but that could just be me. -j