Small party…yeah right. When Mom plans a “small get together” it never means small; her events are always extravagant. Because of her occupation of being a manager to celebrities, it gives her many connections; which in her mind must mean, parties must go all out. I’m more worried about what she has told these people about me; more than likely, nothing about my swimming achievements.
As we weaved through the herds, various people stopped us occasionally to say small hellos and quick goodbyes. However, one middle aged woman stopped us suddenly and would not let us pass on quickly, “So George, your mother has mentioned this is your sophomore year, any new discoveries in your academic studies?”
These are not my kind of people. Wishing I could vanish, “My studies have been steadily progressing, however, my swimm…” I wanted to share my actual interest but as I expected my mom cut me off.
“George has be excelling in his studies; he is just unable to pull one great lesson out because he has too many to choose from,” my mom answered frantically and ended her statement with a stern side glance at me.
“Oh, I am glad to hear it. Your studies are the most important for your future,” the woman interjects.
Again I’m zoning out from the conversation; I don’t want to hear it, and believe me, neither do you. Looking around, I spot a dark secluded space, somewhere I might be able to disappear. First I’ve got to slip away, “Mom I have to use the restroom. Please excuse me.” I add hoping my polite response will help reduce my scolding from interrupting the woman’s rant about education. I don’t wait for my mom’s approval and I make my way through the crowds to the restroom. I didn’t need to go but I thought it was the only way she would let me go without questioning me.
The dark space was vacant. I’ll just hang out here until the party disperse; I’ve probably got about two hours to kill. Napping sounds more inviting than this party. Mom is definitely going to kill me. Oh well, I lay down on a bench, next to the wall, in the pitch dark. I only planned to close my eyes for a few minutes, but that constant beat from the music is quite relaxing…
Well I must have been found out. There goes my quick napping. Opening my eyes, my dark corner was unbearably bright, causing me to quickly shut them again. Man that hurt!
It was my mom’s voice. Yep, I was in trouble. Slowly I opened my eyes and sit up; probably revealing my hiding spot.
“What!?” I said standing up. Realizing the party was long over, and my mom had been looking for me. ‘Great.‘ I wasn’t in trouble, but now I am; because, I have to reveal that I was hiding. ” Mom.” I said as I stepped into her eyeline.
“George Jacob Matthews!” Mom met my eyes. “What are you doing back there? Why weren’t you at the party? You have completely embarrassed me and yourself in front of your future friends. I had wanted to introduce you to some huge modeling managers. They wanted to recruit you, instead, you went a blew it. I can’t believe you are so selfish. Just like your father. I should have never married him. I should have divorced him long ago, so that you would not be influenced by him. You…”
“Wait… What?” I stopped her. ‘Did she just say divorce?‘ “Mom. What did you do?”
“Don’t use that tone with me. I did what needed to be done. Your father is a selfish man, and should not have a role in your life. He is only thinking about himself or children who aren’t even in our family. He would ruin your future, and he did not show me any respect. So I divorced him. I also decided that you will live with me. I am the far better choice, after all,” she spoke proud of her decisions.
“Are you kidding me? I’m not living with you,” I said as I grabbed my phone and keys, heading towards the exit.
Grabbing my arm, “George Jacob Matthew. You ‘will‘ be staying with me. Your life will be in total ruins if you stay with your father. Also I can help you, to be the better version of yourself. I have connections; without me, you will never accomplish anything.”
“Mom, have completely lost it? Why would I stay with a parent who doesn’t even know what I want in life. One who doesn’t know anything about me. I am a swimmer. A great swimmer. My future…do you even know my goals in life. Next year, I’m transferring to a school in Montana; a school that specializes in swimming achievements. Why would you even know this? You’ve never cared about what I want.” I remove her hand from my arm, “this…,” gesturing to our surroundings, “this is not me, and will never be; unless through swimming, I will never be part of this world.”
Stepping back and away from her, “Mom, I do love you, but I will live with the parent who knows and supports my dreams.”
“George Jacob Matthew. If you walk out that door you will no longer be my son. I refuse to have a worthless son who will not amount to anything. Think about your decision. It will be the deciding choice of your future,” she crossed her arms and sternly looked back at me. She just threw the gauntlet down…
I was stunned. She would throw me away. She truly believes if I reject her I will become worthless. Still…knowing all this, I know it is pointless to stay with a parent who could threaten their children with abandonment. Also, I know she would forever be trying to mold me into someone I will never be. I look back at a woman that I couldn’t recognize anymore, “Goodbye.” I turned and left. I left the building. I left the woman I had always called Mom. I left half of my family behind. I left.