Leaving the country for two weeks can only postpone the requisite trip to the Trailer Park for the holidays. Today, i’d arranged to pick up Mom for a late lunch, and had invited the rest of the clan to join us if they were free.
When i arrived at DQ and BJ’s house to pick up Mom at 2:00 pm, i found the place pretty quiet. Mom was ready to go, and said that the others were going to stay home and rest up. My brother, T, and his wife had already pinged me, saying they had plans but were hoping for a rain check. My ridiculously self-absorbed sister, S, had sent a text saying she’d like to join us.
Just the three of us at a mid-scale Asian buffet* restaurant. Mid-afternoon on New Year’s Day? The place was pretty dead, so we didn’t have to rush the meal.
Although Mom has been having a lot more trouble walking, due to bone degeneration in her spine, she was off like an elder-rocket immediately after we were shown to our table to collect her first tray of kibbles. This left me alone at the table with S while Mom was tanking up at the trough.
S presented me with a small envelope. i thanked her, and apologized for not having brought a gift this year.
S: No. This is different. Just read it…
It was a thank you card. With a check enclosed.
Years ago you gave me $700 to help me through my divorce and I don’t know if you realize how much I appreciated your help. I am finally able to start paying this back. This $200 check is the first towards repayment. I will be sending you more throughout the next few months. I apologize that it has taken me so long to repay, but believe me — I have never forgotten. Thank you so much for being there for me and always remember I’m there for you.
i was speechless. Over the past 30 years, i’ve “loaned” thousands of dollars to members of the family, never really expecting to see it again. This was, in fact, the first time anything has ever been repaid. i had forgotten about this.
S: Just sorry it has taken so long. It was what, 1991?
daisyfae: There were some pretty compelling reasons** for you to get out of that marriage! i didn’t consider it a loan! You really don’t need to do this…
S: Yes, I do. Sometimes I think the entire family takes you for granted. I don’t know what we’d have done all these years without you.
Mom returned from her first trip (of four) to the buffet, and i excused myself to grab a plate. As much to regain my composure as anything.
* Not quite up-scale, but nicer than most. Bright, clean and well-decorated. The food is also reasonably non-toxic… although i’m a little afraid of the sushi.
** Her second marriage. This was to G, the transvestite biker who later killed himself, and his dog, in a deer stand after attempting to rob a bank with a squirt gun. This is why i don’t write fiction, folks.