Good Narrative Principles

A Future With Clean Underwear


My mother is coming to visit me today. I’ve been living on my own for six months now, and my mother hasn’t even seen my place. When I first moved in she begged me for the address but I wouldn’t give it to her cuz she I knew she would stalk me.

It would go like this. I’d be leaving my house. Maybe I’d be carrying my laundry to the Laundromat,  or on my way to the clubs with my friends, or heading to work and there she’d be. And I’d have to deal with her. And there is never, ever a good time for that.

She suffers from claustrophobia. So it would be a testament to her love for me that she’d be there. At my doorstep. Hungry to be friends. To connect. To be needed.

When I think of her, I picture what it must be like to float in outer space. Tethered to the ship by a slender cord. The oxygen flows smoothly. The blue orb of the earth floats below you. Then suddenly the cord snaps and you’re spinning wildly away from the ship. Tumbling. Struggling for air. The thousands and millions of stars that twinkled and sparkled and made you feel small, insignificant and yet cared for are now whorling around you, paralleling your sense of panic and the insanity of being caught in ice cold space.

That’s my Mom.

The other day, out of nowhere, I called her up at a time that I was confident she’d be at the office and left my address. I extended an invitation to brunch. You see, my roommates are all out of town for the holidays and so I thought it was safe — as neutral as it will ever be.

Between the time that extended to her the invitation and today I’ve been cleaning and ferreting away any evidence that would help my Mom picture my life on a daily basis. I don’t mean to be cruel. I just want my life for myself.

I’m not ready to share it. Maybe someday when I’m thirty or fifty I’ll be ready to let her in. But for now, I just want to bring her over and essentially stage a little one-act play.

I’m the young woman with great potential and just the right degree of style to be taken seriously as a future art historian, and I’ve got friends and a life. And clean underwear in the drawer.

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