The phone was ringing. I did not want to pick it up. I had just gotten into bed after a night of work and partying. I looked at the clock radio and it was 5:30 Am. I thought to myself, who would call this early in the morning? Who is actually up this early? The phone was on ring number 5, and at ring 7 it would go to the answering machine. I put the pillow over my head and waited.
“Can one of you please pick up the phone?” it was my mother.
I should have known it was her. She was always up early doing things around the house. She would water her plants, have a cup of coffee and make breakfast for my father.
I was hoping Sue would pick up the phone but I remember she was at Sidney for the night. Our mother typically does not call this early. I had to cover for Sue.
“Hello”, I was half sleeping still
“Are you an idiot?” it was my mother. There were no pleasantries.
I was now awake.
“Don’t play like you don’t know. Do you take me for a blasted fool? When were you going to tell us you broke up with Rosa?” she asked.
I was now fully awake. It was 3 weeks after the break up and I had not said anything to my mother. I was waiting for the right moment. When that was I did not know.
The relationship my mother and Rosa was part of what delayed me telling her we broke up. They used to talk often, but not as much since Rosa moved to Orlando. In fact she was complaining to me the last few weeks that Rosa has not called her in a while. I did not say anything to her when she complained.
“I was going to…” I started to reply but got cut off.
“You are lying. I know you too long to know when you are lying.”
She was right but I had to try and make a defense.
“But…” she cut me off again.
“Don’t try and make an excuse. You heard me asking for Rosa for weeks. You could have said something. If it was not for Sue I am not sure I would have heard anything about this break-up,” she responded.
I was caught off guard. I did not know that Sue knew. She was busy the last few weeks with the semester ending and all the school work she had to finish. I was going to tell her too as I knew eventually she would find out.
The conversation continued.
My mother was angry. It was almost like Rosa was her daughter. I was her “daughters” boyfriend. Her next statement drove home that point.
“Why did you have to go cheat on her?” my mother asked.
“What, are you talking about?”
“Are you going to lie about that too?”
“But I never…”, she cut me off again.
“You are just like your father, cheating on a good woman. The apple did not fall too far from the tree”, she was scolding me.
I was getting really upset. I could not believe this is happening. My mother was “tracing” me off without hearing my side of the story.
In my mind I was cursing but had to be respectful. When all is said and done this is my mother. Her experience with my father is how she expected every relationship to be.
My mother kept talking and even mentioned that she thinks my father is back to his old ways. He was flirting with the nurses in his sick state and she thinks he is having an affair with one of the nurses at his doctor’s office. She then talked about how hurt she is over my behavior. She was crying.
It was the perfect time to say something.
“When did you talk to Rosa?”, I asked. I wanted to get to the truth about this rumor of me cheating on her.
“I spoke to her yesterday night”, she replied.
“And she said I cheated?” , I asked.
“She did not have to say it. She said you did not even give a fight when she said the relationship should end. She said you seemed eager to end the relationship. It was like you had someone waiting in the wings.” My mother responded.
Okay so she only thinks I am cheating, I thought to myself.
It was weird having this conversation about my relationship with my mother but I wanted to clear my reputation.
“You keeping it a secret from us does seem like you are hiding something”
“But…” I was trying to get a word in. She cut me off again.
“I have to go. Your father will be up soon and I have to make his breakfast.”
I was in a daze. I could not go back to sleep.
I was now reliving the break-up. Trying to remember my reaction and what I said. I was parsing through every word I remembered saying that night. There was nothing I could think that could give Rosa the impression that I was cheating. I did not give a “fight” but I just thought it was time. I had more to lose in this relationship so why would I jeopardize it by cheating.
I was getting tired playing back everything in my head. I fell asleep. It was a restless sleep as the events on my mind was now in my dreams.
I dreamt I was at my wedding, getting married to Rosa. I was waiting at the altar. My mother was beaming with a big smile sitting on the front row in the church. My father was beside her. My sisters were in the bridal party. My best man was Seth, and Rosa’s cousin was in the groom’s party. I could not remember who else was in groom’s party. What I remember is that we were waiting for Rosa to arrive at the church. She kept us waiting for what seemed forever. Her mother left her seat to check on her. She came back to her seat and still no Rosa. We waited for a while longer. Then the song, ‘Here comes the Bride’ started to play.
Rosa came walking down the aisle.
As soon as she reached me she was smiling through her veil.
The pastor started the ceremony. When he got to the part where he asked if I took her as my wife, I said ‘I do’
Next it was Rosa’s turn.
She hesitated and looked at me.
“I don’t, you cheating bastard”
She ran out the church.
I woke up sweating.
I wanted to talk to Sue but she had a few more days before the semester ended. Should I confront her about what she told our mother?
My conscience said; no wait till she was finished with school, but my bruised ego that was upset about the lies of me cheating on Rosa, said yes.
I will confront her tomorrow.
The next morning I awoke a little earlier than normal before Sue left for school. As I got to her door, she spoke before I could say a word.
“Good Morning. I am glad you are up. I have something to tell you. I am going to Orlando to stay with Rosa this weekend”, Sue stated.
I was caught off guard.
Sue continued, “I don’t care what is going on between you and her right now. She is a friend and that will continue even if you two are no longer together.”
“What did Rosa say about the reason we broke up?” I asked Sue.
Sue always gave a straight answer.
“She thinks you are cheating and didn’t believe you wanted to continue the relationship”, she responded.
“But I was not cheating on her. I wanted the relationship to continue. Why would she think I was cheating?” I asked.
“She mentioned to me that one of her friends saw you out at a club dancing with another girl 2 days after you broke up with her.”
I was silent.
“Is it true I was out but I was not cheating.”
I could not lie. It was true. Steven and I “partied” almost every night after work. I typically find a girl to dance with when I am out. If not Steven would bring one to me. It probably was not a wise move to go out partying after a break up with someone you almost married.
“I needed to get my mind off things”, I tried a weak defense. “I did not want to break up. You know I loved her. You also know what is at stake.”
“So why didn’t you try to work it out with her?”, Sue asked.
“She seemed like she really wanted to end it. I did not want to beg”, I replied.
“She was testing you. We girls do that from time to time.”
“Test?” I asked.
“Yes it was a test.”
This had to be a bad joke. I was shaking my head. This whole situation is crazy. I was now paranoid. Was she using Sue and my mother as a part of this test?
“Do you have to go to Orlando?”
“Yes”, Sue shot back.
“Why, I suppose you are a part of this test.”
“I am not. I just need a break.”
“Do you have to go?”
“Sue, can you please not go… for me?”
“No. I am going!”
Then Sue dropped a bombshell, “Sidney asked me to marry him. I need someone to talk to.”