Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gloria’s Mother Takes Charge

The Gloria Stories, Part III

Gloria’s husband had moved out and her mother was flying in from New York for a week. Gloria was distraught as I drove her to the airport. “I just know I’m going to cry,” said Gloria, “and that’ll make her cry, and I just couldn’t stand that.”

“So be strong,” I said. “Don’t cry ‘til you get home.”

“I won’t be able to help it. As soon as I see her get off that plane, I’m done for.”

“You are not going to cry, okay? NOT!”

“I don’t know…I’ll probably blubber like a baby and then she’ll start in, and between the two of us, you just don’t know what a scene that’ll make.”

“Since when have you ever minded making a scene?”

“Well, but not that kind of a scene! Weeping all over the place, the both of us.”

“But you're lucky to have a good Jewish mama. Nothing more comforting, huh? Everybody should have one!"

"You don't."

"Yes, I have. We Christians consider St. Mary our mother. Now buck up.”

“My mother is no St. Mary. When she sees me cry, she will be all out of control.”

“You are not going to do it, not going to cry.”

She sighed. “When my mother cries, she really carries on something awful. I’m really dreading this.”

The drive to the airport took 40 minutes, and the whole of it was occupied by this conversation. I lost count of how many times I repeated, “You are going to be strong. You are NOT going to cry!”

She didn’t, either. The plane arrived; the large woman in a housedress came out of the jetway; she and Gloria embraced, all smiles. Mother had come to comfort and to take charge.

Relief overwhelmed me. I burst into tears.