(Recollection from an event in 1976)
The Pieta sits on the table in front of the black and white TV. A coffee table book on sports sits open in the middle, long out of date with the image of Mickey Mantel, page edges worn from constant turning. I sit on the uncomfortable couch, crinkling its plastic cover – the only sound other than the voices coming from the kitchen.
“I know why you’re here,” the deep voice of the woman said. “You want more money.”
“I need it to live; to buy food; to get clothing.”
“Don’t be dramatic; I’m your mother, not your wife.”
“I’m not married; you know I’m not married, even though you want me married.”
“Getting a job might be a good first step.”
“I’m looking,” he said. “But I need money first.”
“I’m not harping on you getting married. I’m sure you’ll commit yourself when you find the right girl.”
“Which is another reason I need the money.”
“You mean to go out on this date?” she said. “Why don’t you ask your friend?”
“I’m not going to sponge off him all night. How would that look, him paying for his date and mine?”
“But it’s all right to sponge off your mother?”
“Nobody has to know about that but you and me?” he said. “You want me married, but you don’t do anything that’ll help me meet anybody.”
“I’m not sure the kind of girl you’ll meet tonight is the kind that would want to marry.”
“You’re just being mean. Either give me the money or say you won’t, my friend is waiting and we have to go.”
“All right,” she said and after a pause. “Here you go. Have fun.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he said and appeared at the door of the room I’m in. “Come on. The girls are waiting.”
I stood and nodded, and moved towards the front door behind him, aware of his mother’s glaring at us both as we left, and again, her stare through the front window as we got into my car parked out front.
“What the fuck is bothering you?” he barked at me when I still hadn’t started the car.
“Nothing,” I said, and turned the key, thinking that this wasn’t going to be a good night, regardless of what we did with the girls.