“Watch your attitude.” My mom says, implying some ambiguous message behind her words.
“What? What are you talking about? How does that relate to me writing down the name of the – the thing? Polysporin. Po-ly-sporin. Just go write it out!” I replied back.
“No, I’m going to get the paper, and I’m going to go write it and show it to you.”
“Isn’t that the exact same thing? Whatever – just – go get the paper.” I waved my hands.
“Don’t use that tone.”
“What are you talking about? My tone’s perfectly fine.” I felt my tone deteriorating by the moment. It was fine before. Less fine now, though.
“No…” She sighed, then rolled her eyes.
“What are you rolling your eyes for?” I felt a little more aggressive today. A little feisty. This is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, I thought. “Hey, what’s this about my tone? I’m just telling you to go get it. What’s wrong with that? Just – jsut get the paper.” I cleared my throat.
“No, it’s that hand thing. You waving me over.”
What the fuck? Was this some faux-pas that I didn’t know about? Something that never came up since the date of my birth? Is she really going to start now? Is she really trying to impose a new style of speech? “What?” That was the only thing I could say.
She turned around and shook her head. “You know what, I’m not going to go get it. I don’t even need to help you.” She muttered.
My breathing became sighs. There were words on my mouth, but I didn’t dare say anything. It isn’t worth it. It isn’t worth continuing to waste my breath over something as petty as this. As petty as…
Why did she even care in the first place? She’s fussing over some perceived slight. She’s arguing against an imaginary person; some invisible demon that she’s picking a fight with. You know what? I’ll let her do that. I’ll act naive. I won’t pry. All she needs is some time away from me. All I need is some time away from her. Maybe she’s had some shit at work. Maybe she wants to take it out on the world for a day.
I act reasonably. I stay silent. I mind my own business, and I wait.
That’s what it would look like. In my thoughts, however, I’m thinking up a storm of insults, and I’m bringing up all the complaints from every single moment of my childhood. I’m trying to remember every single time she’s wronged me, and I’m trying to pick apart every single flaw of her character. I brood. And I stare at the doorway. I’m constantly listening for footsteps to come. If she comes back, she’ll get a face full of me. I mean – there’s a better way to word that, I’m sure.
I mean-mug the door for a couple of minutes. My facial muscles get tired, so I stop. It’s easier to think about things when you’re not dreaming up a thousand different insults.