Obligation Wednesday February 14, 2007, 3 comments

“Your father and I always put you first when you were growing up. We put you first then, and now that you’ve come home again, we’re putting your first again. You think this is easy for us? You think you’re not affecting our lives with the decision you make? I shouldn’t have to deal with this, not at my age. I’ve paid my dues, put in my time…”

The young man had heard this speech, or some variant, all through his life. His mother’s rant faded into a distant drone, and he sat with glazed eyes while she went through the ritual.

And then suddenly he’d had enough. Decades of pent up emotion finally burst through the shell he had created for it, and bubbled to the surface.

“Are you done?” he quietly intoned.

The monologue halted abruptly. His mother was not used to being interrupted while she was pontificating.

“What did you say?” she asked.

“I asked if you were done.” he answered.

A bead of drool slipped from her stilled lips. He smiled, knowing she didn’t understand how to deal with this situation.

“The point is,” he stated flatly, “you’ve told us our whole lives how you and dad did everything for us, how we never went without. How you scrimped and saved for us. And that’s really admirable. Or it would be, if you didn’t keep telling us what a god-damned hard obligation it was. Trust me, we appreciate the effort you and dad put in for us. We know how hard it was for you because you’ve constantly told us how hard it was. How hard it still is. We appreciate the sacrifice. We really do.”

He could see the color rising in her cheeks, but plunged on anyway. In for a penny, in for a pound.

“Maybe you could have done stuff for us just because you loved us. Why did it always have to be an obligation?”

He didn’t wait for her response. The leather sofa he was sitting on creaked as he stood. As he walked from the room he threw one final question over his shoulder.

“ Couldn’t it just be for love?”


Comments

Ranjani Wednesday February 14, 2007


Wonderful. Simple and profound :)

Adrian Wednesday February 14, 2007


Thanks Ranjani. I appreciate the feedback.

Nils Wednesday February 14, 2007


I like how you didn’t get lost in conveying the idea, but kept in the narrative details (the creaking leather, etc.). That’s good writing I suppose.

Glad I never experienced this and a good reminder never to use that argument myself should it, some time, ever come up.

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.”
- Charles Mingus

Twitter

  • There’s an important difference between an inexperienced developer and a bad developer. Tuesday December 3, 2019
  • This is utterly unacceptable, GO Transit. Should we expect an apology for the inconvenience, coupled with a statem… t.co/lSux4a9mbM Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Note that it wasn’t even possible to discuss this with someone at Union. Instead we were just given a card with the… t.co/b6BtE7uUUW Thursday November 21, 2019
  • And why did she feel justified in chastising them? She ever ejected a guy off the train who stepped through the doo… t.co/rdWrnDA3AA Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Why didn’t anyone announce the carriage was closed while the train was pulling in? Or even once the doors had opene… t.co/AWJz8RM0aD Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Then she yelled at them over the loudspeaker to tell them how rude it was to have tried to hold the doors open and… t.co/SYDQ0NCUpF Thursday November 21, 2019
  • She just shut the doors on them with barely 3 seconds warning (including one woman who got her bag knocked into the… t.co/9kydaITveC Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Hey @GOtransit, want to explain to all the people who didn’t get on the Lakeshore East 4:10 today train why it was… t.co/4w4lbSMQCa Thursday November 21, 2019
  • Hey @devinwenig. It was great to be a part of the @eBay family under you. Though I left that family more than a yea… t.co/qChpcb22Dr Wednesday September 25, 2019