Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Freshman Year - Part 18, Summer Break

Summer at home with my mother was a nightmare. I should have known. Of course my brother and sister were way too smart to be home over the summer. My brother stayed up at Cornell, working at the green houses and my sister was off selling bible books with her boyfriend. It was just me, home alone with Mom. Good old “pound the pavement” mom. That’s what she used to say. “Get out there and pound the pavement.” And so I did.

I found a little job working as a poolside cocktail waitress at a local hotel. I used to commute to my job on my bicycle. That job is well described in Bookfield, Part 2 of the section on Sales School. Anyhow, my mom used to sum it up by saying that my Evie was bringing people to God and I was bringing them to the devil.

So with my mom making my life at home a nightmare, I was really glad when the time came for me to go to Buffalo to visit Tom. I took a Greyhound Bus the whole way there, the ride took about 7 hours, and he and his mom picked me up at the station in Buffalo. I was exhausted and needed a shower. They lived around 20 minutes from the station in a brick house in the suburbs of town.

His mother had short up swept curly graying hair and was wearing a polyester suit that she had been to work in. She was the power in the family that was for sure. She directed everyone as to what to do and when to do it. “Tom get that hon, Dad help with her with that there, Sue so nice to meet you, let’s all have dinner now…” and on and on. She took charge of everything. They had an old fat grey poodle named snoopy that was Tom’s when he was a boy. I had never had a dog growing up. Snoopy was a great dog in my eyes. They never clipped him, so one would never guess that he was a poodle. He was just fat and shaggy and soft. He came to my bed that night and I slept with him. It was my first time sleeping with a dog. I loved it. Tom was not allowed in my room by his conservative parents. That was okay with me, I was pretty tired. Besides, I had the dog in my bed.

In the morning, his mom came and woke me up. She laughed when she saw me sleeping with Snoopy. At breakfast she said, “Sue has never had the dog experience.” Everybody laughed politely as if on cue.

Tom and his dad might as well have been invisible. Tom’s Mom was the only one who was alive in this house. It was kind of strange actually. Was I supposed to fill her shoes? I couldn’t see myself doing that. What was weird was how Tom just shut down when he was home and waited for cues from his mom to join the conversation. Maybe he was like that all the time and I never noticed.

We toured Buffalo, driven around by Tom’s mom. I got to see the club where he learned to row in eights and where he first competed. His mom continued to be the tour director, even there.

We weren’t left alone often and when we were we only made out. Tom just couldn’t get up the nerve to have sex in his parents’ house even though the opportunity did present itself.

Maybe it all comes down to that when we go home, we become children again. We fill our childhood roles. Maybe that was what was happening to Tom. Whatever it was, it gave me pause. That was what was on my mind all the way home on the Greyhound.


G Cracker said...

Hmm, I think you may have just answered a question: why my mother argues with my brother and I so much more now than she did when we were little. She is still expecting us to act like we did when we lived under her house and under her rules. That might just make my summer go by more easily!

Sue said...

Glad I was able to help G! You go home expecting to be treated like an adult, but no. Your parents still see you as little Grahmie, their baby boy. Hope your summer IS easier!