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Saturday, March 3, 2012

‘fore she was mama

Who knew you could learn so much about your mother while playing hide-n-seek?

Clay found the shoebox in his mama’s closet while hiding. His brothers found him nonplussed staring at hundreds of photos.

“What’s that?” Jay asked. “Whoa!”

“It’s Mama… ‘fore she was Mama,” Clay said, aghast seeing his mother straddling a Harley with a cigarette dangling from her bright red lips and flipping the bird to the camera.

“That’s not Mama,” Ray said holding a picture of a girl in a string bikini in Tijuana. “Mama don’t got no Belly-button ring.”

“Is that a tattoo??” Jay shouted gaping at the one with her holding a joint in one hand and a margarita in the other while some large dude had his hands all over her.

“It is!” Clay said staring at the daisy on her…well, it’s no wonder they never saw it.

“Ya think Dad knows?” Ray whispered.

They jumped when they heard their mother shout up to them, “Boys, I need help with the groceries!”

They shoved the photos back into the box and rushed downstairs.

There she was, the epitome of preciosity, fastidiously straightening the boys’ shoes and school bags by the front door. As usual she wore a prim and proper suit and sensible heels, hair pulled back into a neat bun and her pristine halo in place. Perhaps that halo was a bit tarnished now.

She turned and smiled at them. It took all they had in them to NOT picture her in Daytona on spring break in a wet t-shirt contest nor in New Orleans flashing her boobs for beads.

“What is up with you boys today?” their father said, later at dinner. 

None of them could eat. Try as the might to picture their mother only in aprons, at church and in minivans they couldn’t help thinking of her pack-packing out west with some hippy guy with a goatee.

“Are you feeling ill?” Mama said, tenderly placing a hand on Clay’s forehead. He flinched. That was the same hand holding onto a certain part of a leather-clad man’s anatomy.

“May we be excused? We got lots of homework,” Clay said, unable to stand another minute of this torture.

“All right,” their dad said, watching them curiously. He waited until they were gone before saying, “Did you yell at them today?”

“No, they’ve been perfect angels,” she said looking worried.

That in itself was odd. After the boys were tucked into bed without the usual seven reminders, their dad showed up, closing the door behind him. He stood watching them for a bit.

“Well,” he said. “Which one of you broke, lost or ruined something?”

The boys exchanged looks and simultaneously said, “We didn’t do nothing.”

“Then what’s the problem?” He waited several minutes. “Better to get it over with now than to let this secret attack you from the inside.”

“You’re gonna whip us,” Clay said.

“You know your mama won’t let me. Come on, spill it,” their dad said.

“We found the pictures…of Mama, ‘fore she was Mama,” Jay said biting his lip.

Their father bursting out in laughter was the last thing they expected.

“Okay, so you now know your mama was a little wild before I met her.”

“You know about them pictures?” Ray asked, incredulous.

“Oh, yeah,” he said grinning. “Boys, hope for a wife just like your mama. Trust me on that.”

“So?” she asked as he crawled into bed with her. “Did they tell you?”

“They found your pictures,” he said, grinning devilishly. She blushed as expected. “Don’t worry, Honey. I told them it was your evil twin whom we never speak of. Now, let me see that daisy tattoo.”

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