how a story changes a relationship...
Essay by: caitie linn
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My mom and I never had a great mother-daughter relationship. It was the kind of relationship where the daughter would always try to be perfect for her parents, pretend to be the perfect child every mother and father wanted, not getting into trouble, staying away from drugs, having “perfect friends” that did all their homework who knew their grammar and could spell the longest word in the dictionary on command. But it was this that gave us the communication problems, we never really talked, honestly, I’ve never really thought my mom wanted to listen to me ramble about my problems, and I don’t think she thought I wanted to hear hers. Until, one day- a day that just happened to be my 16th birthday. On March 26th, 2012, at approximately 7pm driving in the car on a dark creepy highway to my “party,” my opinion of my mother changed when we were discussing my then current boyfriend.
“Caitie, he ditches you on your SIX-TEENTH birthday,” she emphasized, “why are you with him? He treats you like shit, what an asshole...” she stopped before she got too worked up about it, mom had a bad habit of doing that, over anything, spilled milk even.
“Mom, he’s not an asshole, he’s a really nice guy, an amazing friend, just a shitty boyfriend.” I fiddled with my phone, I hoped she would approve of him, but that’s nearly impossible now. “I mean, you should approve of him, we’ve been together for like almost 4 months, and the furthest thing from his mind I getting in my pants, shouldn’t you be like OMG HE’S THE PERFECT GUY!” I scrunched my arms against my chest and waved my hands in a sideways motion as I said the last part.
“I don’t approve of a guy that forgets dates, and tells his girlfriend he doesn’t wanna hang with her” her voice got angry, I sighed at her as she continued, “forgets her birthday, and ditches her party, good boyfriends, mom’s approve of, aren’t like that.”
I thought a little before replying. “Well, at least he’s got the not wanting sex part down” I chuckled a little. “I should be offended,” I laughed a little bit with my mom then her aura changed as she sighed.
“You’re right, when I was your age I had a boyfriend opposite of yours,” she smiled a little as her eyes got watery “he pressured me for sex a lot, actually, and I always said no, till one day at the train tracks...” she took a second to sigh and turned her blinker on to get in the passing zone on the highway, speed, then turned it on again to get in the right lane. “Me and my boyfriend, were walking down the train tracks together, and he brought up sex again. I said no, because I was on my period, but he didn’t care, he held me down, and ripped my clothes...” I could see the glaze on her eyes, like she was reliving the moment it happened, she took a bit to pull it together to finish what she had to say. “ I remember him tearing a hole in my underwear, nana saw them and got mad at me.” she sighed, I sat there stunned, feeling kind of awkward, and tense, i didn’t know how to respond to this. Why is mom telling me this story? I thought to myself, how am I supposed to help her?. I thought for a little while, her eyes looked puffy and swollen, like tears were gathering in her eyes waiting to be squeezed out.
“I’m sorry mom” I said sheepishly, that’s seemed to be all I could come up with to respond. We pulled into the restaurant parking lot and look at each other with disbelief, her not believing she told me that, and myself not believing we just had that conversation. I gave her a awkward reassuring smile and closed my car door.
Alyissa got out of the car and sensed the tense uneasiness between me and my mom “What’s wrong sis?” she asked “it’s your birthday, cheer up” me and my mom shrugged at each other and walked inside for my birthday chinese food dinner.
Ever since the day in the car, my mother and I are more friends than we ever were. I’m not trying to be “the perfect child” any more, I’m more relaxed near her. I tell her things that I’ve done, and do, that “the perfect child” would never dare tell their parents, for the fear of being judged, or in trouble. My mother and I connected that night, and now our relationship has changed.
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