Home > Better Words Than Mine, My Favorites > Day One Hundred and Forty-five: A Little Rain

Day One Hundred and Forty-five: A Little Rain

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
-Robert Frost

There’s not a whole lot of places you can go after you nearly destroy the world.

Prison, sure. If you’re into that kind of thing.

Unfortunately, I’m not. I’ve been to prison before, of course – any good supervillain has. The odd bank robbery, maybe a hostage situation. Property damage, that kind of thing. Frankly, I’m of the opinion that if you’re a supervillain and you haven’t been to prison, then you’re just not setting your sights high enough. And boy did I set my sights high. Tornado swarms, a pair of force-5 hurricanes. The wind was at my fingertips, and everything was going my way. For a while, at least.

My mother’s house in Queens was just like I remembered it. A squat little brick affair set back from the road. You had to walk up a couple of steps from the sidewalk and open a flimsy little gate to get to the front door, which she never used anyway. As far as she was concerned, only visitors would use the front door. It opened into the living room, which she kept spotless with the kind of obsession that soldiers usually reserve for cleaning their guns. The living room was the one room in the house that I never went into, on pain of death. Back when I was still into that whole “following the rules” thing. By the time I grew out of it, my rebellious urges had grown pretty far beyond sitting on mom’s plastic-covered sofa. In her house, the side door was good enough for family.

I knocked on the front door. This is mom, not the White House. I can’t assume anything anymore.

There was a moment of dreadful silence, and then the slow unlocking of the five deadbolts that she’d installed over the years. The door cracked inward, and I saw half of my mother’s face peek out of the darkness. I spread my arms wide and dropped my duffel bag to the ground. “Ma!” I said, forcing cheer out in my voice in waves. “Look who’s home!”

Her dark eyes glanced up and down just once. Then she said, “Come around to the side.” The door slammed, and she slowly started redoing all the locks.

My mother’s house was like a time capsule, where everything just stopped changing somewhere around 1992. She had the same appliances, the same fixtures, the same wallpaper. I felt bad when I realized that I had never once offered to buy mom a new fridge or something, no matter how much I stole. She’d never say anything, of course. But I knew that she knew that I was thinking it. Somehow.

I put my bag down on one of the kitchen chairs and sat in the other. My mother started fixing a glass of iced tea.

I suppose that everyone goes through this when they grow up, but my mom looked so… small. Her hair was dark, but there was gray starting to show through, and she moved more slowly than I remembered. She was wearing houseclothes – a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt that matched. This from the woman who had a knockoff Chanel and a fake pearl necklace that she would wear just to go out to the supermarket. Something had happened to my mother, and I suspected that it was somehow my fault.

That could just be my mother’s superpower, though. I can control weather, she can make even a hardened supervillain mike me feel incredibly guilty without even saying a word.

She put the iced tea on the table in front of me and then took the remaining chair. The tea was super-sweet, of course. For a little while, it was just us and the tick-tocking of the cat clock on the wall.

Finally, she said, “I saw you on TV last week.”

I just nodded and sipped my tea.

“That hurricane of yours ruined my gardening.” She gestured out to her tiny backyard garden. The usual chaotic rush of flowers and vegetables was just a broken pile of leaves and stems. “It was just about time for the dahlias, too.”

“Sorry, mom,” I mumbled around the glass.

We sat there for a while longer. I started out the window a little more, and I missed the sunflowers that should have been just about over by now.

“Will the police be coming by?” she asked.

I shook my head. “I never let them know who I was,” I said. “A friend of mine hacked into the Department of National Security database for me. They think I’m from Jersey.” This got as much of a laugh out of her as I could expect – a dry chuckle.

She stood up, slowly. “I’ll make up your bed,” she said.

“Mom.” I reached out and took her arm gently. “Mom, let me take care of that.”

“Nonsense.” She swept my hand away. “I’m your mother.”

And that was it. She walked down the hall to where my old room used to be. I was by myself in the museum kitchen, just me and my iced tea and a spare costume in the duffel bag. And no plan. No idea what I was going to do next. I stood up and looked out the window at the garden. Amidst the mess, mom had cleared out a space in the corner. There were a couple of plants growing there – I have no idea what they were. Green is green, as far as I’m concerned. But they were growing. I concentrated a little, and a brief rain fell around the plants. Just a bit of water sucked out of the air. Nothing dramatic. A little rain.

Mom wouldn’t let me go too far, I was pretty sure. She couldn’t solve my problems. She couldn’t make the police leave me alone, or make the heroes let up or anything like that. But there was iced tea. There was a bed and some time to sit down and figure things out.

That would be enough.

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  1. December 27, 2011 at 9:36 PM

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