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.

If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y plus Z. X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.”
- Albert Einstein

Twitter

  • I remember designing and building the original Playdium website in 1996 (I have screen caps somewhere of the work w… t.co/N3csm6pAwe Wednesday October 14, 2020
  • Enough of this, 2020, already. Eddie Van Halen, rest easy, man. t.co/bA8h4OtgsN Tuesday October 6, 2020
  • It is amazing how quickly one adjusts to their glasses constantly steaming up, isn’t it? Monday October 5, 2020
  • Seriously, no amount of ‘weird tricks that Warren Buffet uses’ are going to improve anyone’s life. Friday September 25, 2020
  • Was just pondering about how both writing and programming can rewrite your brain, and came to the following, which… t.co/Nm2G3G0Mz0 Friday September 18, 2020
  • Sony was, like, one front dial away from converting me over to their Full Frame cameras. One dial. t.co/C8ZMVTqjJD Monday September 14, 2020
  • t.co/Jj5Je55OyC Tuesday August 25, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg You certainly want to work with him. Tuesday May 12, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg Lately you sound like me 3 years ago, failing agains the profligate use of users bandwidth and computin… t.co/DGOM7XfVjZ Monday May 11, 2020