"Magic Mirror, if we only could / see ourselves as others would." --Leon Russell

I tried to call you last night.
I tried twice more but you never picked up.
Where were you?
Oh. Who did you go with? 
Yes, I know her parents. She smokes, doesn't she?
I'm just saying.
Nothing. Nothing at all. Don't get upset like you do, please.
Yes I know she's 21.
No, she can't be 37? 
Okay. I guess that's right, you kids are the same age. Time flies!
Well, you'll always be kids to me.
Did you get the recipes I sent you?
Some coupons, too.
Did you go to that job fair I told you about?
I thought it would be good for--
But you don't want to do that for the rest of your life, do you?
It's not really going to take you anywhere.
You could do--
Pardon? You did? That's wonderful. How much of a raise was it?
Well, excuse me. I'll never ask anything again.
Any men in your life?
Yes, but I thought that might have changed.
Oh yes, her.
But why were you so upset? It was only another woman. 
I just worry about you.
If you'd lose a little weight, and dress a little more--
Well, I'm sorry you heard it like that.
You've always been too sensitive. 
Your brother isn't that way at all!
Always do what?
Don't be that way. I'm trying to help you.
Why take everything I say as criticism?
Don't raise your voice, please. 
I never said that.
I don't remember saying that.
I just want you to be happy.
Well I'm sorry if you misunderstood what I was saying.
You know how you confuse things sometimes, just like your father.
Well, your friends don't say these things to you because they don't love you like I do.
Have you thought any more about becoming a Lutheran?
I only thought--
Well, when we went to church with your brother and Debbie, you said--
I thought you did express an interest. 
He'd be glad to talk to you about--
All right! I just wish you had something solid in your life, that's all.
I worry.
What have you been up to?
An award, how nice. Is there any payment for that, or...
Oh, I see. 
Well, that's a nice hobby I suppose. Nothing I would ever think to do, of course.
Yes. Yes, but...
I just think that if you spent that time in a more--
Well, because I'm your mother. I care about you. I worry.
At your door? Right now? It's rather late.
All right, I'll call you tomorrow then. 
You won't?
How about Wednesday? Any room in your schedule then? Ha ha.
Well, they'll wait, won't they?
You're just like your father, always running off someplace but never getting anywhere.
All right, yes, better go see who's at the door, my goodness.
Be careful.
Love you.

for Out Of Standard at Real Toads.

Image: The Broken Mirror Effect by croissance at deviant art.

Blogger won't let me add a video, so here is a link to Leon Russell's "Magic Mirror." 


hedgewitch said…
O Shay. You have captured this so well--that interior dialogue--or rather, monologue--that we somehow have such trouble tuning out--maybe because it has droned in our head for so many years, a buzz, a toxic vibration like the ones the spies are supposed to be using these days to make people deaf...because that voice doesn't really care if you respond, it only wants to hear itself. Perfect Leon Russell song, also.
Debi Swim said…
Thank goodness, I can't relate. I have totally different problems with my mom. But, wow, you've made me feel this like a nagging headache.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Wow. You have captured this to perfection. Yikes. Thank God they invented call display.
Cloudia said…
Lightning in a bottle
Carrie Van Horn said…
I think sometimes there are certain parents that so over identify with their grown children that they try to make them into something they are not or want them or even hope them to be. Hence crushing the relationship....thank goodness this is not always the case, but you sure grabbed it by the horns and made us feel it Shay. Awesome as always! (Your book was awesome as well!)
tonispencer said…
This poem gave me high anxiety and a headache - which means you nailed it. I am so thankful I never had conversations with my mother like this - that she was always accepting and loving and never tried to push me onto her path.
Fireblossom said…
100% of this poem is stuff my mother actually said to me (except for a name I changed), and if it was said once, it was said a thousand times. I used to get stomach ache the minute I saw her number on the caller ID or her name in my email. Now that she's passed, I mostly just feel relief.
Isadora Gruye said…
oh wow, wow wow. The mechanism of a phone conversation perfectly brings to light all the unseen cruelty and pain that might otherwise get washed out. So well done!!! Thanks for posting to the out of standard.
Old Egg said…
This one sided conversation was absolutely beautiful.
Dani H said…
are you channeling my mother? tell her to get the hell out of your head!

our mothers could have been twins.

great write, SP!

Kim M. Russell said…
By the time I was old enough, my parents had two other daughters to worry about, so I never really got that kind of questioning. I just hope I wasn't like that with my daughter. She came to stay for a few days last week so I can't have been too bad. :)
Sioux Roslawski said…
I figured. I figured this was a conversation you heard too many times.

At this late stage of my life, I've gotten back in touch with my teen-aged I-don't-a-flying-fig attitude. I've forgiven (but not forgotten) my brother. Through a 12-program (which really hasn't stopped my overeating) I've realized what things I have control over and which ones I don't.

Maybe you need to consider writing a book for young lesbians. A survival guide. Or maybe you've already started one? The next few years might be rough for many groups in this country (including everyone who has a brain and a heart)...
angie said…
Pain upon labored pain. So crushing to listen in on your conversation with your mom. This is so effective to present it this way, because it makes it more objective.
Helen said…
OMG, my head hurts!! Deliver me from ever having a dialogue like this one ~~~ which I thoroughly enjoyed of course. (do you believe in 'the rally cat' theory?)
Kerry O'Connor said…
Oh, dear... I think I shall have to memorize a few of these lines - just to makes sure I do not start to sound like this mother... (the danger is ever-present).
Margaret said…
...I will bite my tongue if I ever have these thoughts while talking to my children... I'm sure it did come out of love - but she wasn't very good at expressing that love. I'd get an ulcer if I answered every time she called - I hope you didn't. Hugs.

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