Friday, 18 July 2014
Dinner with Mom
By Mary Mack
Most days she was there, waiting for her sister, the moment I returned home from school. “Hi, Helen,” she’d say. “Ready to go swimming?”
“No, mom, we can’t go swimming. And it’s not Helen, it’s Mary, don’t you remember?”
She would simply nod, not certain of a response. But, today, she wasn’t there.
I knew all the numbers to the bars where dad would be so I kept dialing until I finally found him. “Mom’s not here,” I told him. “I think you should come home.”
But when he arrived, I had to convince him to call the police.
“She’ll be back,” is all he said.
I knew better so I took his Plymouth and began to search. I tried the mall, the library and even the park until I remembered. Besides wanting to go swimming with Helen, she would sometimes be waiting for Hoagy, my dad, to take her to dinner (which he never did).
By the time I reached the parking lot of the plant where he worked, it was dark. Rows and rows of cars were stretched out in front of me but I knew she was there, I could feel it, so I drove, ever so slowly, up and down each row, searching for my mother, until I found her, sitting in a car that looked something like the Plymouth, which is to say it was white and had four doors.
There she was, sitting in the passenger’s seat, coat, hat and scarf drawn closely. So closely she was sweating when I tapped on the window to get her attention. “Hi, mom,” I said softly. “What are you doing?"
“I’m waiting for Hoagy, he’s taking me to dinner.”
“Come on, mom, I’ll take you.”
It was the first and last time I ever took my mother to dinner, to McDonald’s for filet-o-fish sandwiches, and they were just fine.
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