Plan A

     Her tiny fingers, so like mine, laced between Daddy’s as dinner proceeded. Glancing over at me, she flashed me a smile and in an instant, I was a little child again, basking in the light she gave out.
            I have always loved her smile. Its radiance soothed away any worry plaguing my mind, even now as a woman, who was more, at least I hoped, than capable of handling the real boogey men of adulthood. But it always offered me extra courage and this occasion was not different.
It seemed like a good time. Both my parents were in a pleasant mood, laughter flowed easily between conversations. There probably wouldn’t be a better chance to share the news that I’ve been sitting on for the past week. Focusing on their smiles, I told them.
            The words barely left my mouth when I sensed the shift. Daddy’s grin slacked a little as he listened, but he tried to upkeep the façade of being happy to hear it. Mama, on the other hand, showed her disdain immediately. Her other small hand clutched the wine glass and I realized then, no matter what, there will never be a right moment to share with them, especially her.
            As soon as I finished, Mama downed the remaining wine in her glass and said, “You have got to be kidding.”
            Rolling my eyes, my assumptions were confirmed.
            Daddy squeezed her hand and tried to quiet her but she brushed him away, asking me, “This has to be some kind of joke?”
            A laugh escaped my lips and she looked hopeful, her manicured nails stringing through her pearl necklace. My eyes narrowed and I repeated what I said, ending with, “I’m serious, Mama.”
            She slammed her wine glass onto the dining table and jumped out of her seat. Her heels clicked against the floor as she paced the room, yelling, “Gina, we did not give you everything in order for you to settle just for anything. Where is your head, child?”
            I leaned back into my seat, folding my arms across my chest, as her criticisms continued. Daddy’s voice peeped over Mama’s once in a while, but he clearly shared her sentiments, only in a nicer, softer tone.
            Five minutes later, Mama, calming down, took the glass full of wine offered and sipped half its content. She looked down at me and said quietly, “Now finish up your dinner and we’ll talk about this some more later.”
            Shaking my head, I mumbled, “I’m not hungry anymore.” I gathered my plate and went into the kitchen with Mama tailing behind.
            “Don’t be foolish, Gina. You hardly touched the food,” she said as I dumped it into the trash.
“Oh Mama, I couldn’t manage another bite after the bullshit you and Daddy fed me out there.” The plate clattered into the sink.
Her eyes narrowed and she said, “Watch how you talk to me, young lady.”
“No, you watch how you talk to me. I am an adult who doesn’t need either of you questioning my every move like that. The way you and Daddy reacted, it seemed as if I proposed committing murder.”
She gulped the rest of the wine and slurred, “Well excuse me for being concerned with your life. Because you pay your own bills, does not negate the fact that you are my baby. I was born to worry about you.”
“Mama, there isn’t anything to worry about. I’m happy. I hoped you both would feel the same.”
We both stood on opposite sides of the counter, glaring at one another.
“I needed your support tonight, not your condemnation.”
“Darling, I refuse to pretend that this is what you had envisioned for yourself,” she whispered, her eyes softening.
“Are you angry because my life isn’t what you dreamed it to be?” I snapped.
Her eyes flashed and she brought the wine glass to her lips again. Realizing it was empty, she set it onto the counter and crossed her arms.
“I understand where you are coming from because I have been there before.”
Shaking my head like a petulant child, I said, “You have no idea how hard it is, Mama. I am doing the best I can.”
“You are lying,” she said simply.
“These days aren’t like those you grew up in. I’m doing better than most people out there. Can’t you see that?”
She walked over to me and took my hands into hers. Looking into my eyes, she said quietly, “I do not care for those other people, sweetie. I raised you, therefore you are my only concern and I do not think you are all that you can be.”
I shook her off and tried to walk away, hating that she couldn’t sympathize. But she grabbed my arm, forcing me to stay, to listen to the rest of the crap she had to say.
“Mama, you’re hurting me.”
She ignored my plea, saying, “All we ever wanted was what you wanted. We wanted you to achieve your dreams, your vision. Can you continue lying to my face and say you are one step closer in completing the goals you had set for yourself five, ten years ago?”
Her words hurt me and she could tell that they hit. She pulled me into a hug, but I resisted. She let go, looking sad.
Brushing my hair out of my face, she whispered, “I’m not always going to be here to remind you, Gina.” Her thumb rubbed against my cheek, wiping away a tear.
“But it looks like you remember those plans well enough.” With a kiss, she left me alone in the kitchen.
Her heels resonated as she walked through the house, looking for Daddy. I heard her call out to him, asking for another drink.
Usually when she gave me unsolicited advice, once her back turned, I would brush it off and roll my eyes. Now, tears fell from them as the realization sunk in: she is so right. 

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