Monday, January 16, 2017
I may have reached my breaking point with Mom.
The instant I walked in to her room this morning, she said, “Where were you yesterday? Slutting around with your harem? How many half-breed babies are you planning on dropping, you whore?”
I froze. I came to a complete standstill two steps from her bed. There was a buzzing in my head, a kind of wash of static as I replayed her words.
I knew she was coping with abrupt changes in her life. I knew she had no idea how to constructively deal with fear and frustration, that the tools stored in her behavior shed were few and broken. It wasn’t even being called a slut or whore that stopped me in my tracks and made my fists clench. No, those were not what broke this camel’s back.
I stared at her, with her drawn face and the frown lines etched in it from so many years of uncontrollable anger and depression. I saw the old, broken woman who gave me life and managed to raise me to a somewhat responsible adulthood despite all the challenges her mental health had thrown in her path.
I saw her and I did not care one bit. I couldn’t even find revulsion to expend on her. No love, no hate, nothing. She may as well have been a stranger for all the coldness that filled my heart. She did not matter to me, but in my view, she had attacked the person who mattered most of all.
“Are you calling my daughter a half-breed? Are you labeling Anrel with some kind of bigoted shit? Because if that’s the case, you damned sure better believe we will walk out of your life and not come back.”
My tone was as unemotional as the rest of me. I knew in that instant that I would do exactly as I said. I would turn my back on Eve Monroe and forget she had ever existed.
Whether she didn’t get the message or didn’t care, Mom kept on the attack. “This isn’t about her. This is about you abandoning me to open your legs to your alien fuck boys. It’s nice to know how much I mean to you that you’d run off while I’m suffering.”
“You’re fine,” I said, my voice still icy. “You’re recovering. Rehab is exhausting and it’s tough, but yesterday was no worse than the day before or the day before that. The only reason you want me around is to dump on me. Why should I come around at all when you do nothing but swear at me nonstop? Why should I stay with you when you refer to Anrel and my future children as half-breeds? Why should I give a fuck, Mom?”
“Then leave and don’t come back,” she yelled, her face darkening with anger. “You’ve done enough damage already. Go play with your aliens. Fuck yourself stupid like the tramp you are. Get the hell away from me!”
“Done. Have a nice life if that’s even possible, you miserable witch.” I turned on my heel and nearly walked right into Clan Aslada. I hadn’t heard them come in.
Meyso held Anrel in his arms. I jerked my head towards the door. “Either give her to me or take her out. She no longer has a grandmother.”
He stared at me with wide, shocked eyes. Slowly, he backed out of the room. I followed him and the other two men followed me.
Outside Mom’s room, Meyso struggled to say something. “Shalia…you don’t mean…”
“I do. When she speaks of Anrel like my child is worth nothing because she’s not fully Earther, then she forfeits all my compassion. I’m done with her.”
Aslada put a gentle hand on my shoulder. “We only just walked in. What did she say against Anrel?”
“Hold on,” Meyso interrupted. “I want Dr. Kini in on this since it sounds like a big emotional issue for both Eve and Shalia.”
I shrugged. “Pull him in if you want to, but it doesn’t change anything. I’m done. She’s not to see Anrel again, not if she thinks of her the way she says she does.”
My mind was made up. Mom had gone too far. I would not subject Anrel to such awful views. I couldn’t protect my child from everything, but I could damn sure shield her from my mother.
We went to Dr. Kini’s office. Fortunately…or unfortunately, depending on the viewpoint…he was in and free to talk.
I caught him and Clan Aslada up on my mother’s latest round of bullshit. While Aslada, Meyso, and Jaon were careful not to voice any opinions, they looked aghast. How Kini felt about it, he gave no clue. He had his psychology hat on, and that thing never slips off at the clinic.
He rubbed his chin as he considered the situation. “I understand your concerns, Shalia. You don’t want Anrel exposed to such vitriol, even though she’s still too young to understand what’s being said. And of course you’re worried this wouldn’t be an isolated incident.”
I finally felt something: let down. Mom had seemed to adore Anrel so much. Had it been an act? Just her pretending to love her grandchild because it was what was expected of her? The thought made me despondent. How could she not love Anrel?
I voiced those questions to Kini. He nodded. “I can sympathize with how you feel. What I’ve found with Matara Eve is that when she’s upset enough, everything and everyone becomes fair game. But in this case, her attack was focused on you rather than Anrel. I sincerely believe she adores her granddaughter and would do anything to not see her harmed.”
“I still can’t have my child around that,” I insisted. “At what point is Anrel no longer safe because Mom has to lash out?”
“A good point. I think you’ve come close to doing the right thing about it.” Kini smiled with encouragement. “You’ve drawn a line in the sand, as you Earthers like to say. You have told her she has no right to cross it and demonstrated there are real repercussions if she does so. Once Matara Eve is over this particular tantrum, she will realize she has to choose. Either she indulges in the verbal abuse she finds so easy to use or she works on constructive communication in order to keep her family.”
“I might not be able to give her the option,” I said. “I’ve had enough of this. Maybe I’m the worst daughter ever, but I don’t think I can deal with her anymore.”
Aslada put his arms around my shoulders. “You are not the worst daughter. You’ve been remarkably patient with Matara Eve.”
Kini nodded his agreement to that assessment. “Indeed, you have. This might be a turning point for Eve as well. Now that a clear boundary has been established, we may see her re-evaluate her behavior. Shalia, I know you feel you’ve been pushed to your limit. I do request that when she asks for you to come see her again, that you will do so.”
I looked at Anrel, at her bright, happy face. I imagined my mother throwing a fit in her presence, calling her a half-breed or worse. “I don’t know that I can.”
“Give it some time. Let things calm down. Take a break so you can both settle down. No matter what Eve says, she needs you. Better still, she wants you. She loves you and Anrel more than anything else. I know that for a fact.”
I shrugged. “It’s going to take more than love. I’ll keep the option open and see what happens. That’s all I can promise right now.”
It’s all I have left in me to give to my mother.