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Tuesday, November 18, 2008Never Claimed To Be Perfect
My mother’s mantra has always been “Be the bigger person.” No matter what insult or offense was heaped on us she’s always advised that we turn the other cheek, be the better person. “There is no weakness in forgiving others, retaliation and vengeance is what makes you weak. The desire to even things up eats away at your soul and weakens your humanity.” I’ve always tried to remember that whenever I’m in a situation where I’ve been emotionally hurt or wronged. As a result I tend to think…a lot…before I act out of anger or hurt. I’m not always so successful in my endeavor to be the better person, it’s nice to know neither is my mother.
As we rode down in the elevator one of our neighbors was glaring at my mother. My mother was stunned even though they were just acquaintances they’d always greet each other warmly and stopped to chat whenever they saw each other. It had been this way for about 15 years, now the woman stared at mom as if she were evil incarnate. Mom shrugged her shoulders and tried to figure out what had she’d done to this woman to cause such palpable disdain. She finally recalled what it was and flashed the woman a dimpled smile. The woman rolled her eyes at mom and looked off to the side. In the annals of history it was no biggie but the woman had taken great offense. It was kid stuff that had caused the once warm and friendly neighbor to turn against my mother.
My little sister had ended her friendship with the woman’s daughter when my sister had realized that the girl was using their friendship as a cover in order to meet with an older boy to have sex. Because the woman had adored my sister whenever her sheltered daughter mentioned she was going out to the library or going to hangout with my sister the woman had given her the freedom to go out. Her lies were finally revealed when she’d violated her curfew and her mom called my house to find out if my mom had heard from her daughter or my sister. She was shocked to find out that my sister had been home all day and that in fact hadn’t been hanging out with her daughter at all for months. Naturally she didn’t believe my sister when she told her this. She thought my sister had been covering up for her daughter all along and blamed her for whatever rebellious streak her daughter was now showing. It would have been fine if it had ended there but then the woman took great pains to trash talk about my sister to anyone and everyone that would listen and it got back to my mother. Mom thought it had all been settled after she had gently approached the woman, obviously it hadn’t.
When the elevator finally reached the lobby the woman glared at my mother one last time before walking out of the elevator. As we walked behind her into the main lobby I noticed that the back of her skirt was tucked into her underwear. It was obvious from the condition of her underwear that she didn’t follow the wear nice underwear in case you get hit by a car rule of thumb. I started to open my mouth to say something when my mom grabbed my arm and held me back. She gave me “the look” and shook her head. “Que se joda” (screw her) she said as the woman stepped outside and crossed the street to wait for the bus. “What about being the better person?” “I’m not the better person when it comes to my kids. Fuck it, maybe in my next life I’ll master that lesson. I never claimed to be perfect.”
4 comment from: christina/ohio, Just Jane, Tapsalteerie, Mia,