In the real world my friends scoffed at my online life and my mother rolled her eyes as I sat at my desk chattering away about what had happened the night before in the Parlor. She sneered openly when I received a tape cassette from Yak and glared at me when I ran to put it on the tape player. As the sounds of The Phantom Of The Opera eased out into the back workroom of the store – she turned away and pursed her lips. She tried to find out what was written on the card he had sent along, but I tucked it away and refused to speak about it. I knew it was hopeless, but somewhere down deep inside me I dreamed of the impossible.
My mother’s scorn for my lonely life knew no bounds. Every day I took my nephew to school and arrived at the store at 8:20. I then worked throughout the day without a proper lunch or coffee break. I never left the store unless it was on business. Many nights I worked until 11pm and then hurried home so I could find a friend in the chat room. My nephew would catch a ride with his grandma and look after himself once he was home. I didn’t have to baby-sit him and I was grateful. I tried everything I could to please my Mom – and nothing worked. It was never good enough.
I met the men who responded to my ad in the Companions section of the newspaper in the mall. I figured that I was safe with a multitude of shoppers wandering around and that I could always feign a need to return to work immediately if I didn’t like the person. Even though I never was gone for more than 10 minutes, these meetings made my mother furious. I was wasting her money when she signed my paycheck – out gallivanting around the mall like a hussy. She was much like my father in that respect. She just didn’t want to see me with anyone. One day during a vehement argument, she raised her hand and drew it back as if to strike me. I looked her in the eyes and said “It wouldn’t be the first time, would it Mom.” She lowered her hand and turned away, unaware of the horrified stares of the staff. I was so embarrassed by the whole event that I wanted to sink through the floor.
I was not even in the running when it came to being a ‘good’ child. My brother took this category hands down, and I never blamed him. He was good to everyone – no matter what. He had remained living on the farm so he could help our father out with the work, and be there for our mother in all those lonely months when Dad wasn’t speaking to her. Granted – I thought he had it good in many ways. No mortgage, no living expenses, a cook. I also knew it wasn’t any picnic dealing with our parents on a day-to-day basis and I didn’t envy his choice in living there.
Still, the other two siblings rated so high on the ‘good’ scale that my own rating could not even been seen when compared to theirs. Both of the sisters were very religious, and my mother loved this. It did not matter one iota that their actions in no way represented their beliefs. When they quoted the bible to her she simply beamed! I on the other hand was known for flying off at the mouth and saying words that she considered evil. I had worked so long in the bar that foul language came just as easily out of my mouth as did everything else. I toned it down for work, but once I got angry, I often forgot. I tried to live my life in the manner that I believed in. With honesty. I didn’t fake bible quotations and then not go to church. I wasn’t on the look-out for my 3rd husband. I didn’t lie. It just isn’t in me. There was so much bad history between the three girls that we held an uneasy truce just to get through the days. I seemed to have always been battling constantly with everyone in my family, just to hold my own ground. Everyone that is, except my brother.