Sunday, June 7, 2009
My Mother Always Warned Me - John Fetto
Johanna’s mother always told her she’d be sorry about Hawley, and now that he was gone, it wasn’t as if she were wrong about him, but about everything. The way she cooked, the way she cleaned house, how much she stayed in, how much she went out. Hawk eyes watching her from the wheel chair; and watched her, as Johanna withdrew. She’d sit for hours watching t.v., listening to her mother talk without, without speaking. The more she withdrew, the angrier her mother got. The angry her mother got, the more she withdrew. Sometimes, she’d sit watching her mother’s mouth move with a kind of fascination, watching the muscles tighten along her mouth, and her brow wrinkle, liver spotted skin, paper thin. Eventually she would stop. Her mother’s mouth would clamp shut, and she’d just stare at her. Perhaps that was why she didn’t understand her the night her mother told her she was having a heart attack. She sat listening respectfully and then went back to watching television. It was another hour before she called for an ambulance, and when they came, the young men in blue suits, looked at her sadly, saying there was nothing that they could do. She heard what they said, and agreed that it was more appropriate that they call for a hearse, but it was hours before they came and wielded her mother out of the house. Johanna watched the black car go away, and then she made breakfast, and thought her mother was wrong. She didn’t feel sorry at all.