It’s 6PM, several years ago. I’m cutting flowers in my summer garden. My house phone is ringing and I rush inside the kitchen to answer it. It’s Harry, the fellow my brother has been telling me has a crush on me. I’m breathing hard from the quick run from the yard.
Harry says, “Venus, what time does your mother go to bed?”
“Ah…what? My mother? What times does my mother go to bed? Eight? Eight-thirty? Why.”
“I’d like to go and see her ,” Harry says, “But, maybe it’s too late in the day.”
My mother is 87 and Harry is maybe 40. He thinks of my mother as his mother.
“Here”, I say, “I’ll give you her care taker’s number. She can tell you if Mom is still up.”
“No, no!” Harry shouts. “Don’t.”
“OK,” I say. “Goodnight then?”
“Thank you, Venus,” Harry says, “for running inside to answer the phone.”
Later, I laugh myself to sleep. This is one of the more novel excuses a man has used to phone me.
“What time does your mother go to bed?” !!?
A few days later I’m at my mother’s house and she says, “I can’t think of any man I’m attracted to.”
She pauses to think, then says, “They’re all dead.”
She has a boyfriend of sorts, however. She has known him since grade school. David lives in another state and they see each other, sometimes. He comes here to visit and we pick him up from the bus depot down the mountain.
He is 90 years old and writes Mother letters so hot that they scorch my fingers. I tell Mom I think David has had strokes that are affecting the sexual, more animal part of his shrinking brain.
Mom’s care taker is here and she tells me that Our Very Old David has called and wants me to call him this afternoon. Mom thinks he wants to talk to me because her birthday is coming up. I think it’s because she wrote him a good-bye letter regarding her cancer.
I call David from Mom’s house. He’s all bright and jolly when he hears my voice. He lives in Nevada with a woman who care takes him while his daughter lives in California. He is very independent. Now, he says to me, “Venus, I’m moving to Bridgeport, California.
” I say, “You are? Who is there in Bridgeport that you know?”
“A few waitresses,” he says, but adds that he likes the place.
I say, “What does your daughter think about this?”
“My daughter doesn’t know yet. I’m telling her tonight. She won’t be happy about it!”
“And,” I ask, “what does the woman you live with think about it? She’ll lose her job if you leave.”
“Oh, she’s really upset.”
“Well, David what are you going to do in Bridgeport since you don’t know anyone and you’re 90 years old?”
“I want you to move with me to Bridgeport, Venus. We can drive up and live there together.”
Whaaat? I’m stunned. David sounds perfectly normal until he drops this one on me.
I’m laughing. I think he’s joking, but he keeps saying he and I are going to move to Bridgeport and live together. My mother is listening to all this on the speaker phone.
I keep laughing as he tells me how it’s going to be with us living cozily together. I finally realize the man is serious.
Mother doesn’t know what to think about her boyfriend wanting to run off with me and I feel badly about it. I tell her that he must have had another stroke and his wires are tangled; that maybe he thinks she is me?
Moments later my sister Polly comes over to visit while Mom and I are having tea at the kitchen table.
Polly is filled with woe. She and her house have been caught up with what I consider her bank’s ornery, selfish,money wringing drama.
I tell her what has happened with David. She looks at me, her mouth falters and she sits down with a ‘Kerpump’ in a chair. She can’t believe that Mother’s boyfriend wants to run off with me. David must be joking, she says. Or, I’m exaggerating.
Mother verifies my words.
Polly grins. “Well. I needed something to lift my mood!”
The three of us are in wonderment.
I say, “But, he seems perfectly normal.”
My sister laughs, “Except for insisting you move up state with him and live in sin!”
I’m still feeling badly for Mother.
“Well,” I say, “It just proves it’s the same David. It’s always all about David.”
Polly’s cell phone rings. It’s a man we both know, who had an proven stroke recently at age 50. He has called Polly to tell her that he’s been talking to the Mayans and they have told him that the world will not end Dec 21st, 2012 and that he has been enlisted to spread the Word about this folly. The world will actually end on the 23rd. He demands her son’s phone number and the numbers of a few other people that Polly knows. It’s urgent, he says, that they know and can prepare for the real end of the world.
Polly looks at me like the world is not ending but has gone crazy, instead.
“Listen Polly,” I say. “The Universe is crazy. Nothing makes sense. It means that all the things that we think are bad and serious, like the stuff we’re going through right now, are crazy, too.”
I thump my teacup on the table.
“It’s all illusion, just like the sages say. And, just like the High Beings told me, it’s all God having experiences; it’s all God loving all experience no matter what it is.”
But still…I wish the Illusion Of My Love Life weren’t so stupid.
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