My True Love
I sat, despondent, on the couch, staring at the credits scrolling past on my TV. I did not have it in me to get up and change the DVD. I looked at the remote, hit the menu button, then started the movie again. Chris had gone into work, leaving me alone. I wanted to take another pain pill, but I couldn’t, not for three more hours.
I hurt, and I was alone.
Someone knocked on my door.
“Hold on, I’m coming, but I’m moving slow,” I called out.
It felt like an ice age to get me from the couch to the door. The pain management medicine skewed my perspective. For all, I know I actually sped over to the door.
I peeked to see Pat standing outside my door. I unbolted the chain and opened the door.
“Oh honey,” Pat said as soon as she saw me. She stood there with her arms full of grocery bags. What is it with the urge to feed people when they get sick or hurt?
She put her bags down and folded me into a large warm mommy hug. I needed a mommy hug, it was the best thing ever. So, of course, I started crying.
She eased me back onto the couch, pulled her bags in from the landing, and closed the door before joining me.
“What’s wrong?” She eased my head onto her shoulder.
I gulped and kept crying. “I just miss my mom, and I hurt. And I’m alone.”
“Sweetie, that’s why I’m here.” She patted soothing strokes along my hair and back.
“What?” I asked sniffing back my tears. I honestly did not expect to see Pat. I pretty much figured she didn’t like me and had just been playing nice since I was a surprise guest in her house.
“I’m here because my son is in love with you, whether he’s figured it out or not, and he is worried about you. You don’t need to be alone right now. I came figuring you could use a mom seeing how yours is across the country.”
I rested against her shoulder, just taking comfort that someone was here to mother me.
We sat like that for several minutes before I adjusted and let Pat get up.
“I brought all the ingredients for the butterscotch bars, and Chris said something about you liking bacon cheddar mashed potatoes. So I brought bacon, and cheese, and potatoes. You can tell me how to make that for dinner.” She carried the bags of food into the kitchen and began pulling things out onto the counter, and away into the refrigerator. “It looks like you are well stocked.”
“Yeah, my coworkers pulled out the stops and brought over all kinds of stuff. Which is good, because I didn’t have any food.”
Pat made herself familiar with my kitchen and began baking butterscotch bars.
I picked up my phone and texted Chris to let him know his mom had shown up.
He called me back, I picked up on the first ring.
“Hi.” I may have been overly enthusiastic to hear his voice.
“Hi, yourself. So mom’s there? Good, she said she would drive down.”
“I was definitely surprised, but I’m glad she’s here. She’s already baking. I think there is enough food in this apartment that I can safely eat myself into a food coma for the duration of my recovery.”
“You should rest, take a nap if you need to. You’ve got mom in case you need help with anything.”
I nodded and yawned, the nap suggestion was already working on my fuzzy brain.
“Are you coming by tonight?” I asked.
“I have to swing by my place to pick up some more clothes after work, but after that, I’ll come straight home.” He said.
“I like that. I like that a lot. I’ll see you later.”
“Call me if you need anything at all okay?”
“I will,” I said then I hung up the phone. I got to my feet and shuffled into the kitchen. “I’m going to go take a nap. You’ll be okay if I go pass out?” I asked Pat.
“You go rest. I’ll be fine. I can figure out how the TV works if I need anything I’ll just call Chris.”
I nodded and made my way back to my bedroom.
When I woke up the apartment smelled heavenly.
“I made butterscotch bars,” Pat announced as I shuffled into the living room.
“I can smell.” I closed my eyes and thought of Chris. I would forever associate this with him. “Can I have one? Or ten?”
Pat chuckled, she handed me two after I made myself comfortable on the couch.
“So what’s the plan?” I asked between bites.
“No plan, you don’t need anyone to cook. So I’m here for company, and to make sure you don’t need anything. A little later, I’ll let you talk me through those fancy mashed potatoes.”
I smiled as Pat took a seat. “I’m glad you’re here. I was really feeling sorry for myself after Chris left for work this morning. I didn’t want to be alone all of a sudden.”
“Good thing he called home, and that I have a flexible schedule. Grace is at work, and Mike is in school, so here I am.” She shifted in her chair. “Nat, I need to apologize again for what you overheard.”
I shook my head. She had apologized several times before we left. “You were expressing concern for your son. Nothing you said was really a personal attack. Just pointing out I am different. I’ve had time to think about it. I’ve met his ex, so I think Mike got it in his mind that women Chris like all look a certain way, and that Chris is a certain way. However old Mike was when that impression was made, it had been that way for a while. So in Mike’s head that’s the way it should be. Chris has changed along the way. Chris has been different for a while, even before I showed up on the scene. But with me being so much more different than his last girlfriend, it just pushed Mike’s buttons, and his reality is shifting, on top of that he’s sixteen, so his reality is already skewed.”
“You are being very understanding.”
“I think it’s the drugs talking. I’m not typically this insightful. He was still rude, and I’m not going to give him a pass on that. I just think I understand where it’s coming from.”
None of our other conversations for the rest of the afternoon were that deep.
Pat fried bacon, and I sat in the kitchen grating cheese. She had already boiled and mashed the potatoes, we were now preparing the goodies to be mixed in before it was put back into the oven to bake. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I typically use the frozen pucks of mashed potatoes or instant potato flakes. This would taste better with real potatoes anyway.
Chris walked in the door much earlier than I expected. He came straight to me and gently wrapped his arms around me before kissing me. He stroked the hair back from my face, “how are you feeling?”
“I’ve been good today. Your mom has been really helpful.”
He looked up, still holding me, “hi mom. Thanks for coming.” He released me, then gave his mom a quick hug.
I saw the look on her face. It was a mixture of pride and a touch of sadness. The pride that her son had found a woman to love and take care of, sadness that she had lost him to me. And that’s when I knew for certain, that on the twelfth day of Christmas I had found my true love.
©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas