"Do they need to go out?" I asked for formality's sake, but it
wasn't necessary; I already knew the answer.
"Yes, they haven't gone out in a while." My mother routinely replied. Before she had even finished her sentence, I was already hoisted up off of the couch and called out, "Ferris, Misty, come!" I clapped my hands as the dogs came bounding towards the door. Like always, I opened the door with my left hand as the dogs ran past me into the backyard. Ferris needed more encouragement. I waved my hand once, twice, three times, and finally he pranced down the steps to the backyard so he could do his 9pm potty business like usual. Why he needs so much assurance to go piss I will never know.
I closed the door behind me as I ambled to the bathroom. Bored, (as one usually is while taking a shit on the toilet) I took out my phone to play yet another mindless, futile smart phone game involving birds (I don't mention the name of the game because that would be commercialism, and a classy as shit girl like me doesn't participate in commercialism). Around five minutes passed of me happily playing my stupid bird game until I heard yelling coming from my mother.
"Rebecca?! Where are those damn dogs?" I lifted my near-asleep butt off the toilet and opened the door (sorry I didn't wash my hands, but when my mother yells for you, you better damn well sprint).
"What are you talking about? I let them out like you told me!" I raised my voice in indignation.
"Where? Where did you let them out? You know Beck, you have got to keep an eye on them! The coyotes could get to them, for God's sake!" I watched in confusion as my mother paced back and forth across the house, looking for dogs that were just in the backyard, no different than any other 9pm night. My mother interjected my thoughts.
"REBECCA?! WHERE THE HELL ARE OUR DOGS?!" She was full on yelling now, and I speedily realized I needed to diffuse her abrupt rampage. So I opened the door to the back yard, walked a few paces, and called to two small shadows that lazily made their way up to me. They pranced into the house, not a care in their fluffy little heads (I pray that if I'm reincarnated, I come back as Ferris).
"See, all better." I said to my mother, in less of a reassuring tone, and more of a see, you were acting bat-shit crazy, there was no reason to worry, kind of way. I performed my well-practiced teenage angst eye roll and stormed off towards the fridge. I grabbed my face mask and (still in my storm-walk mode) made my way to the bathroom so I could put stuff that was expensive as shit, looked like shit, but smelled like cupcakes, all over my fucking face because it was that kind of day.
I sighed. I really hated fighting with my mother, especially
over stupid stuff like this that has more to do with her
menopause and less to do with actual common sense. "Hey mom," I
called out, "I'm sorry, I won't let them out anymore without me
there, okay?" My mother appeared in the door of my bathroom,
brows furrowed, arms crossed. She seemed to overlook my
"Do realize what could have happened? They were out there ALONE, they could have gotten eaten by coyotes, damn it, Beck." I put my hands up and raised my eyebrows as a sign of, yet again, indignation.
"What do you want from me? I apologized, it won't happen again,
okay? Why are you drilling me? I let them out like I do every
other night, except this one you choose to freak out on me!" I
hotly grabbed my cupcake shit and placed it back in the
"You know Beck, you will never get anywhere if you keep up this defensive crap. You are not always right missy." Her finger was placed pointedly at me, her right hand on her hip, and her head was cocked knowingly. This is a classic stance used by many mothers of all ages and cultures, and is widely acclaimed by many. Regrettably, she was right. My quick defense mechanism came with side effects such as a quick tongue that spoke before my mind could keep up, and my perpetual need to be right. Mother may not always know best, but she certainly knew me best. Well, on most occasions
"Only reason I was being so defensive was because you went from a normal human being to a yelling, rampaging crazy person in a matter of .5 seconds!" The exasperation and congenital defensiveness was highlighted by my overuse of hyperboles. At my response, my mother rolled her eyes in a way that was eerily akin to my own perfected technique (wait, was my mother a teen at some point in her life?).
"I was not yelling!" She yelled. "Beck, you really shouldn't be so dramatic." Where I got my habitual defensive mechanism I will never know.
"Actually yes, you were, that's kind of what you do when your particular strain of temporary insanity is triggered." I scoffed. I expected a sharp response back, but there was nothing. Just silence.
"Mom. Are you okay?" I watched her shoulders round and her face contort as she burst into tears. I ran to her, burying her face in my shoulder as I wrapped my arms tightly around my mother.
"Rebecca," her voice was muffled by her sobs and the nape of my neck where she pressed her nose, "I don't want you to ever think I'm mad at you or yelling or anything like that. I'm sorry, I am so sorry, my love."
I pulled her from my grasp. I saw my mother with her posture defeated and ashamed, as if she had failed a test more paramount than any other, committed the deadliest sin imaginable, but she had done no such thing.
"Hey," I spoke intently. I tried to find her blue-eyed gaze so similar to my own, but it was everywhere but me. She shifted between the floor, the fridge, and the counter, but her eyes never met me. "Hey. Don't say sorry. Never apologize. Not to me, not to Dad. Not to anyone," I lifted her chin so her gaze was finally parallel to mine. I was careful not to cry, because she didn't deserve the worry. "Do you hear me?" She nodded.
"Okay. Good. I love you." I meant it.
"I love you too," she managed a small smile. "Thank you sweetie."
As she turned to leave, I blurted out, "You know, I'm practically an adult. I've been an adult since I was like 10. You don't need to worry so much."
At this she chuckled, and genuinely smiled. "I know baby, I know."
I watched my mother slowly walk away into her bedroom. I remember days when she took care of my cuts and bruises, and protected me from the dark and the monsters under my bed. Nights when it would be storming, we would just lay in silence, as the music of the rain and the drumming of the thunder lulled us to faraway places in our sleep. There were times when she believed in me when no one else did. As she moved sleepily to the bedroom door, I realized there might not be very many more times like this. In the blink of an eye, she'll be frail and old, and it will be my turn to protect her. The older I get, the faster the years go by, and eventually, she will be gone. All I'll have is a few photographs and memories of the beautiful blue-eyed lady I call my mom. So before I went upstairs with my thoughts and my dog, I took a mental picture of this precious moment. I suggest you do the same. After all, they are scarce, and never last long.