When I returned home from work yesterday there were two messages on the answering machine. From my mother. The first was left about 10AM and was slightly accusatory, along the lines of : ‘I haven’t heard from you in weeks. You never ring. I don’t know what’s going on.’
The second was left five hours later and was slightly more antagonistic: ‘Can’t even be bothered to ring me back, eh? I could be dead for all you know.’
This is my mother all over. Setting things up so she can cast blame. She knows full well she can always get me on my mobile, but she can’t initiate her much loved mind games if she speaks to me directly.
I was angry when I got home. Too angry to call her. I wanted to, I was chomping at the bit to. I wanted to tell her she was the one who couldn’t be bothered, not me. Couldn’t be bothered to get her only grandson living in Australia an easter egg. Couldn’t be bothered to see him once during the school holidays. But I didn’t because I know that’s what she wanted.
Last night I couldn’t sleep. I felt the fog descending as my mother’s admonitions were replayed over and over in my head. How easy it is for those who have the power to abuse it. How easy it is for peace of mind to be shattered.
I called my mother first thing this morning. The phone was a slab of granite in my hand. She didn’t answer. I called again and again. She didn’t pick up. She was probably there screening the calls.
I gave up. I can’t do this. It’s upsetting and pointless. I can’t handle it when people who are supposed to be adults act like children. I can’t handle it when blaming becomes more important than forgiving. I can’t handle it when people create their own misery.
I could feel all the good work I’ve done over the past few months in getting myself out of a really negative mindset unravelling with one phone call. The fog was coming up from the water and closing in.
I think of my mother, growing older, at odds with everyone, but mostly with herself. I am sad about it. Grief-stricken; but there’s nothing I can do.
I see the fog rising, swirling at my heels. Quickly, I run to higher ground, avoiding the draw of it. For now, it’s all that I can do.