I’ve Learned Not To Have Nightmares From Other People’s Happiness
If you haven’t read the first part of this story, here’s the link. Kindly read it before starting this one.
One evening, a neighbor called and asked me, “Has your mother sold her car?” I said, ”No she hasn’t. Why do you ask?” She said, “Recently, I’ve been seeing aguy driving it around so I thought she had sold it.” There was something more she wanted to know than whether or not my mom had sold her car. No one buys your car and drives it around your own house. She wanted to know the relationship between the boy and my mother. Or she wanted to test me and see if I knew there was someone like that in my mothers’ life. I said, “She hasn’t sold the car. The boy is her new driver.”
She said, “Oh great. That explains it. Because he’s always around your mother. But if he’s the driver then why does your mother drive anytime he’s in the car with her?” I said, “I don’t know. You live closer to her. Can you ask her?” She said, “I was just wondering.”
I told my husband, “You see the reason why I’m not comfortable with what mom is doing? I’m the one they call. I’m the one they think of any time they see her. It’s embarrassing. It’s not as if the guy is in a suit and works in a corporate entity. This is a nobody. He doesn’t have a life.” Typical of my husband, he’ll listen to me rant and yet say nothing. I said, “I don’t know why you all don’t see anything wrong with it.”
One afternoon, my mom was at work when I went to the house. Immediately the guy saw me he deflated. I asked him, “What are you doing with my mother? Are you aware that she can give birth to you?” He looked at me as if he was looking at a ghost. I said, “I came here to talk to you so let’s talk.” He said, “You won’t understand. I’ve never loved anyone like your mother. You may think it’s wrong or I’m just here to waste her time but look around here, I do all the work around here whiles she’s at work. I really love her.” I asked her, “So would you marry her?” He said, “I wish I could.” I asked, “Whey can’t you?” He said, “Your mother is not ready to marry me, I would have done that long ago.”
I looked at him and watched his hunger-induced six-packs. I said, “Young man, look for something else to do. Look for a job. Be in charge of your own life and leave these old bones alone.” He said, “Soon she’ll find me something to do and everything will be alright.” I called my mom. I said, “I’m talking to your boyfriend. If you don’t see him off, I will be forced to do it and you can’t stop me.” She screamed on the phone, “What are you doing there with him. Be careful. I’ve told you to stay out of my business.” I told her, “Watch me.”
I wasn’t going to do anything but I thought a little bit of threat will cause her to act. Nothing changed. The boy was still her boy and she was still his girl. One evening, my husband said, “If it worries you this much, why don’t you report it to your pastor. You mom has a position in the church so when the pastor speaks, she will listen.” I said, “All this while I’ve been complaining to you, I was expecting you to tell me something like this. I don’t even know why this hasn’t come to mind.”
So that Sunday, I sat next to my mother in church. When she saw me she asked, “What are you doing here? You can’t stay in your church?” I said, “I miss worshipping with you. I miss the old faces I used to see when I came to church here. I came to visit.” She looked at me suspiciously. I asked, “Where’s your boy? He doesn’t come to church with you?” She said, “We are in the presence of God. Don’t bring him up.” I asked, “God doesn’t know about him already?” She didn’t talk back. I said, “If you’re not confident enough to bring him before God, then why don’t you let him go. Mom, you’re embarrassing me.” She said, “You think everything is about you huh? Don’t be selfish.”
I told her I’ll see the Reverend after church. She asked what I had to do with Reverend. I said, “I have worries. I will need him to pray for me. Especially when it comes to you and that boy. I can’t stand it. It keeps me awake and I don’t want it.” She was quiet for a while. She said, “You’re doing this yourself or it’s your father’s ghost that’s pushing you this far because I don’t understand it. If it doesn’t embarrass me, why does it embarrass you?”
Church closed. I went to see Reverend. She followed me right there. She took over the conversation, dictating the pace and direction. By the time I realized she was telling Reverend, “We came to visit you. We’ll take our leave and come next time” The reverend bade us goodbye and we left. Truth be told, everything I said was just an empty threat. I wanted her to know how seriously I’ve taken the issue and I was glad she got my point. On our way going home, she made some promises. She said, “I will let him go but take your time. I’m sorry it worries you but Give me a few weeks. I’ll report back to you.”
One evening she said, “He’s no longer here. He’s gone.” I asked, “Gone for good or gone for some time?” She said, “Gone for good.” Her voice didn’t sound convincing so the next day I went there to check and indeed he was gone. I don’t know why I trusted her so much on that. Her facial expressions and everything showed that she had pushed the guy off. On her 53rd birthday, I and my husband wanted to surprise her so we went there unannounced. Guess who came to open the door when we knocked…that boy. Immediately he saw us he panicked. My mom also picked when she saw us. I didn’t say a word. We presented her birthday cake to her, sang a few happy birthday songs, and left.
Days later, she called to ask me to visit her and I went. The boy was gone. She asked, “Does your husband know what’s going on?” I said, “He does.” She said, “That’s embarrassing. Why did you tell him?” I said, “I thought you didn’t care.” She plunged herself into a long monologue, talking about life and how lonely she had become and how she thought it wise to seek companionship from a boy. She said, “I was a good girl. All my life, the only man I ever dated was your father. I gave him all I had until he left. Now that he’s no more here, I thought I will find my young self again and do all the things I couldn’t do while young but you won’t let me. You said it embarrasses you so I decided to do it secretly. That way, no one is hurt. Why don’t you understand that?” You want me to die lonely? This boy takes nothing away from me. Why don’t you understand that?”
I said, “I understand now. I don’t want you to die lonely.”
From that day I stopped putting my nose into her business. I realized I can force a win from her but there would be casualties in the end. I told myself, “If it makes her happy, she should go ahead and be happy for herself.” The boy no longer lives with her. She told me recently that she hadn’t seen him in weeks. I want to believe her but I know it will be very difficult for her to let him go totally. Slowly one day, it will all come to an end so I’ve given her the space she needs to explore and be happy for the rest of her life.