#52 Mom’s unorthodox advice
“Franny!” my mother shrieks the moment she sees me walking into the hall of the airport, dragging my big pink suitcase after me. “Oh, honey, it’s been too long!”
I smile when she jumps me, her whole body wrapping around mine. She smells like cheap perfume and cigarettes, and her fiery red hair – dyed, of course, she’s a blonde like me – tickles my cheeks. We’re the same height, but she’s in stiletto heels whereas I am in flats.
“You look amazing, but way too skinny,” she says when she pulls back, giving me a hard look. “You’re not dieting, are you? Or is that new man of yours giving you such a great workout that you’re losing weight from activities in the bedroom alone?”
That’s my mother for you. I’ve barely been here two minutes and she’s already making comments about my sex life. She looks great, and I tell her so, making her smile. She got yet another piercing in her left ear and I see the bottom of a tattoo peeking out from her short-sleeved shirt that wasn’t there five months ago. Guess we’ve got a lot to catch up on.
She ushers me to her bright green Volvo and I put my suitcase in the trunk before hopping into the passenger seat.
“You were a little vague over the phone,” Mom says as she drives off, honking at someone who doesn’t give her the space she thinks she deserves when she’s pulling out of her parking space. “I usually only see you for holidays and birthdays. To what do I owe the pleasure this time?”
“I just needed a break,” I say, slumping down in my seat. “And I missed you.”
“Ah, James broke up with you, didn’t he?” She smiles wryly while taking a left turn a little too sharp, making me brace myself against the door. “I figured it was something like that. When?”
“A little over two weeks ago.”
“That sucks.” She honks again, cursing at someone who takes too long pulling up when the light turns green. “Do I need to come back with you when you leave in a week? You know, to kick his ass? I’ll hold him, you kick him in the nuts.”
I laugh, already feeling better. “No thanks. He’s a good guy. Just not the one for me, apparently.”
“We’re going to drink a lot of wine and you’ll tell me all about it,” Mom decides, her expression softer now. “Wine will make you feel way better than men do. Sexy, funny, confident… Just a few glasses of that wonderful elixir and you’ll be good to go.”
“Or I’ll be bawling my eyes out,” I mutter.
“Nothing wrong with that either,” she teases, squeezing my knee. “It’s good to see you, baby. Don’t worry, mommy will get you back to kicking ass in no time. Seven days is long enough to fix all your problems.”
I already know that her fixing my problems means drinking wine, talking about sex, and giving me horrible advice. I love my mother, but she’s crazy. When I was in elementary school, I used to get teased because my mother was not like all the other moms. Her hair was short and hot pink back then, she had five piercings – by now, that number has doubled – and wore short skirts and combat boots even in the middle of winter.
Mom and Dad were so different. Dad was an investment banker with the soul of a musician, and Mom was a stay-at-home mother who acted like she was a teenager going to a bar for the first time. They were absolutely perfect together, and I’d love to have a relationship like theirs. Except for the end, of course, when Dad died and Mom fell apart and had to find out who she was without him, falling and getting back up time and time again. She got a hell of a lot of tattoos after he died, some of which she regrets now, but I think Dad would have loved the ink on her skin. He loved everything about her.
I want a guy like that. Who is different than I am, but who gets me in ways no one else ever did. I’ve got two options, so I shouldn’t be whining, but how do you know which one is the one? And what if Joshua and Thomas both aren’t it for me? What if I just lost the only one who could be that for me, James?
Ugh. Hopefully Mom has some insights when we start drinking wine right after dinner, because I need to figure myself out.
“So in a nutshell, a hot cop hit on you after arresting you, and he turned out to have a massive pierced dick that could make you forget your own name. Then you discovered he had serious issues, one of them being the fact that he proposed to every human with tits and a heartbeat. While figuring things out with him, supporting him through all his jealous, possessive, emotional crap, your hot neighbor confessed that he’d been pining for you for three years, without ever fessing up to it until you were finally in love with someone else, and then he proceeded to try and win your affections by putting a hole in his dick and sticking a golden piercing in it, just to make you want to be with him?” Mom roars with laughter and takes another sip of wine while she sums up my life.
“And of course, there’s Joshua, the blonde curly prince who seems too young for you, but who is a hell of a lot more mature than both the hot cop and the pining neighbor, and who is basically the only guy who seems to get that you need a friend more than a boyfriend right now. Only he’s not your usual type, but you do think he’s hot, which you didn’t realize until you woke up in his bed without anything even happening. Now your head is all scrambled, and you just lost both James and Thomas, leaving only Joshua as a real option, but you still don’t know if you want him.”
“Yeah, basically.” I laugh at the way she makes everything that happened to me sound utterly ridiculous. We’ve both been drinking, of course, and are more than a little buzzed. Hell, let’s face it, Mom is drunk.
“Okay, can I just say…” Mom sits up straight and tries to look all serious. “I’m Team Thomas.”
“Mom!” I exclaim, giving her a shove. “You can’t just pick a team! Besides, Thomas is the only one of them you’ve ever met. You don’t know James and Joshua. Trust me, they’re both amazing.”
“Okay, fine, but I’ve met Thomas… how many times now? Five times? He’s a total hottie, one hundred percent your usual type, and he is basically General Fluffington’s daddy.” She gestured to her own cat, Jennifurr. Yes, she really named her cat Jennifurr. And it’s a boy, which makes it even more ridiculous. Poor thing. It’s a vile, horrible, mean cat and of course my mother loves him. “Cats know things,” she says mysteriously. “If the General likes Thomas, he can’t be bad.”
“The General hates James,” I say with a little smile, already knowing what she will say.
“Then he’s probably evil deep down in his dark horrible soul,” she decides, shaking her head. “What does Fluffington make of Joshua?”
I shrug. “Joshua has never been to my place, so I don’t know. He couldn’t really go anywhere with the broken leg. And band practice is in Yord’s garage, so Joshua has never met the General.”
“Hmm.” Mom taps her chin, pretending to think. “Sorry, but I will remain Team Thomas for now.”
“Yeah, Thomas is great,” I agree with a sigh. “I just… I don’t think it was fair to make me choose so soon after James. And to wait three fucking years until I was finally in a relationship for the first time in my sorry little life… what is that about? He could have just said something last year, and we could have dated and maybe we’d be together now. Or not. At least we’d know!”
“Look, there are only three questions that you need answers to,” Mom says, clapping her hands together. “First things first… Do you love him or could you see yourself falling in love with him? Start with James.”
“I still love him.”
“I think I could fall for him.”
“I think… I don’t know. Maybe. Yeah, I think I could.”
Mom nods. “Okay. That question didn’t help. Number two… who has the best dick?”
“Mom!” I push her so hard she almost falls off the couch. That’s my mother for you. She gets drunk, talks to her only daughter about sex and acts like it’s perfectly normal.
“Come on, it’s important!” she insists. “Your father-”
“Please don’t talk about my deceased father’s penis,” I beg. “Please, Mom. Please don’t.”
“Okay, okay. I won’t if you answer the question.”
I roll my eyes. “Okay, fine. James has the biggest, which I like, but Thomas is bigger than average as well, and they’ve both got sexy piercings. I’ve never seen Joshua’s cock, but from what I could tell from the tent in his shorts, he’s probably around Thomas’ size, maybe a little bit smaller. He’s definitely not got any piercings, but I mean, that’s not something I need in a man.”
“You just really really really like it,” Mom teases, sticking out her tongue. “So basically, you’ve got three guys you either already love or could fall in love with, and they’ve all got decent dicks. Okay. Score. Now number three…”
“Is this a question about sex again?” I ask, fearing the worst.
“No,” she says, becoming serious now. She takes my hands in hers and gives me a knowing look. “Who gets you, Franny? Who makes you feel like you’re right where you’re supposed to be, who knows things without you having to tell him, who do you feel comfortable sharing your soul with?”
“Jesus,” I mumble, grabbing my wine to down it in one fell swoop. “That’s a big one.”
“Saved the best for last.”
I hesitate, but I already know one of them isn’t the person who gets me. “James,” I say softly. “He doesn’t get me, I think. I love him, but he thought I was telling him that I love him through a song that meant something completely different to me, and he seriously thought I was looking for a wedding dress when he saw that picture. He doesn’t like that I party and drink… And he uses coasters!”
Mom laughs. “Yeah, no, he’s not it. Ugh. Coasters.”
We both laugh, but even though I’m making a joke out of it, I know that James doesn’t truly get me. Mom is right, the person you’re with should get you. Love or no love, he needs to understand things about you without you having to spell it out. That’s not James.
My heart feels a little lighter now. Yeah, I love and miss him, but at least I didn’t lose my one and only true love or anything. Just a boyfriend who taught me a lot about what I want out of a relationship.
“Thomas?” Mom asks. “Does he get you?”
“Yeah,” I say after a brief pause. “Yeah, I think he does. Maybe not a hundred percent yet, but that’s partly because we’ve never really talked about relationship stuff. He knows how to cheer me up and he seems to sense when he needs to come over because I feel down… I feel comfortable with him, and he’s been a part of my life for so long now… Yeah, I think he gets me.”
Mom nods. “That’s the vibe I got from him too those few times I was over at your place for a weekend. He’s a good guy. I think he needs to learn to keep his dick in his pants when a girl is obviously too vulnerable to make good decisions, but hey, he’s still just a man, and you’re a pretty girl, so who can really blame him?”
“I am pretty,” I agree, joking around with her.
“Does Joshua get you?” Mom asks, cocking her head to the side while she studies my expression.
“Yes,” I say immediately. “Totally, completely and utterly.”
“Wow,” Mom says, her eyes widening. “Okay, maybe I should be Team Joshua then. But he’s only 22, right? Still in college… And no tattoos or piercing or hunky muscles… Is he a potential boyfriend, or just a really good friend who gets you?”
“I don’t know,” I say honestly. “How do you know?”
“Kiss him,” Mom suggests, shrugging. “Sleep with him, or at least cop a feel or something. You’ll know then.”
“I can’t just kiss one of my best friends.” I grunt. “If I do that and I end up not wanting him, I’ll hurt him and I will lose him. I can’t lose Josh. I just can’t.”
“Okay. Then keep Josh as a friend, and try with Thomas. I’m sure he will take you back in a heartbeat if you don’t wait too long.”
“I can’t,” I insist. “I need to be on my own first.”
“No you don’t.” Mom looks at me pointedly. “You don’t need to find yourself, Fran. You’re not me. I know that it was scary back when you were 15 and I fell apart when your father died. I didn’t have a job, no idea what to do with myself without him, no purpose… I hope I didn’t scar you too much back then. I don’t want you to think you’re going to fall apart over some guy. James broke things off two weeks ago and you’re already doing just fine. Stop worrying. You’re 26. Have some fun.”
“Like you?” I ask, giving her an amused look.
“Hey, I’m fun.” She wiggles her eyebrows. “You father sure thought so. I could tell you stories-”
“Don’t!” I exclaim, clamping a hand over her mouth. “Please don’t.”
She licks my hand and I pull it away, wincing. Mom just laughs and drinks more wine.
Coming here was definitely a good idea.