Shortly after breaking up with the jerk that was obsessed with sex (ironically, his name was Clinton) , and trying to break the news to Lila as gently as possible before Christmas, I moved back home. In retrospect, I feel like I may have compromised (read as prostituted) myself in that instant. Once again, my mother would have a hold on me, and would have her pound of flesh. But I was getting out of a sticky situation, one that was becoming more hostile by the moment. To this day, I still do not understand why Lila refused to take my word that I would be leaving soon. I think that she hoped once I was out of boot camp and school, that I would get stationed near by and pay half of her rent. She had expectations, some of them being that I would also send her money while I was gone.
Minutes after I moved back home, I was informed that I had to get Christmas day off because we were Christians, and Christians don't work on Jesus' birthday. I told my parents that it was impossible because the kindly older cashier that I worked with was also a Christian, but more importantly she had seniority. No matter, I was to insist that my boss give me Christmas off. So... The next day I did just that, getting into a heated discussion. I told him that my parents were forbidding me to work that day. He told me not to bother showing up for work anymore.
This may seem like a tedious amount and bit of information, I included it because what would happen next will amaze you. My mother blamed me for getting fired, and I was required to buy my ex-boss a Christmas gift to say I was sorry for making him fire me, causing him to be short staffed that day. Paid with my own money, of course. On top of that, I was required to buy Lila a gift too, a nice house warming/Christmas gift to make up for all the ways in which I had inconvenienced her buy backing out on a rental agreement that didn't exist and that I never agreed too.
I realize now that my mother saw the value in me compromising myself. It would save the butcher the wasted energy of setting aside spoiled meats just for her, and could possibly stop the cashiers from placing her eggs on the bottom of her grocery bags. Gosh, the deli lady might spit on her lunch meat! I laugh because suddenly little old, inconsequential me had turned her world upside down, suddenly I was of great importance.
I suffered through the holidays as best as I could, knowing that the end was in sight... just beyond my reach. I survived those last few days on pins and needles, excited about the unknown that stretched before me. I remember the night they took me to the airport with such clarity, I remember every facial twitch, every nervous gesture... None of them my own. By now, I was a master at masking my emotions, but inside I was ready to ignite!
My mother broke the silence.
"We believe you."
Squinting at my mother, I said a solitary,"What?"
"I said, we believe you."
I said nothing. I sat, I stared. Emotionless. Seemingly. Tears began to trickle down those stone cheeks of mine, and yet I never wavered.
My mother, taking my tears as a sign of some sort, started to cry hysterically. Was it sadness she saw, or forgiveness? Or maybe just weakness... I'll never know. It was if I was standing upon a precipice, and felt relief and joy knowing that I was about to take the jump. I murmured goodbyes, trying not to show my elation and agitation. I felt that old familiar feeling that at any moment she would pull the rug out from underneath of me.
As I walked through the boarding area, I never looked back. The next few hours would be spent with me being hit on by two older business men. As I flew from Maryland to Florida, I looked at pictures of their children, forced smiles at thinly veiled attempts by one of them to sound divorced, and accepted compliments, sexual innuendos, and business cards with home numbers scrawled on the back... simply because I had nowhere else to go.
What a way to start my new life.
Part four coming soon!