The sleepy sun streamed in through the glass storm door as I listened to the message on the answering machine.
‘Hi, honey. I just wanted to let you know that I’m running a little late, but I’ll bring dinner home with me. Call me back on my cell phone and let me know what you want. I love you.’
I darted out to the front sidewalk, where my mother was playing with one of the cats.
“Mom? Dad called. He wants you to call him back.”
“Okay,” she said, without looking up. She didn’t act the least bit interested in listening to the message. I shrugged inwardly and went inside to get ready for my date.
Half an hour later, my boyfriend arrived. So did my father, who wondered why my mother hadn’t called him yet. After he questioned her, my mother stormed into the living room, where I was sitting and talking with my boyfriend.
“Why didn’t you tell me your father called?”
What was she talking about? “I did.”
I sighed. “Mom, I came in, listened to the message, then went back out and told you that Dad wanted you to call him. You were out there playing with the cat.”
My mother’s dark soul showed through the anger in her eyes.
“Liar! You never told me any such thing! When will you quit lying to me?”
She flew toward me and slapped my face. My boyfriend tried to stop her, but she shot him down with a look.
“You stay out of this! You’re not part of this family!” She turned back to me. “I want you to apologize for lying to me!”
I shook my tear-streaked, burning-cheeked head. “I won’t. I can’t.”
She backed up and folded her arms. “Well, I guess you won’t be going out anywhere tonight. I won’t let you leave until you apologize to me.”
The crazy conversation was interrupted by the welcome distraction of the phone ringing. My mother rushed to answer it. Her cold, hard voice suddenly shifted to a warm, dulcet tone.
“Hello? Oh. Hi, Mom. Uh, I was just in the other room talking to your granddaughter and her date. Is everything okay?”
My boyfriend and I took the opportunity to run out of the house, ignoring my mother’s icy glares. I cried all the way to the restaurant, knowing what would confront me when I returned home that night.
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