Excerpt from CHAPTER 11 – THE HUNGRY I – page 279

Published May 13, 2017

My mother expected my knock on the door. She flung the door open! Before I knew it, ma was hugging and kissing me like I never remembered her doing! “My son, my son, my son,” she said, as we swayed side to side. “My oldest son has finally come home,” she declared with tears in her voice. “I was trying to keep it all together,” she confessed through her sniffles. “You sound so serious—so grown-up now. And you look so good! So handsome!” she exclaimed with admiration. I knew that on this day she would have been happy to see me no matter how I looked! It was so good to see ma again, too—to be alone with her, as we soaked in each other and felt the years we were apart melt away!

My memory had dulled over the years. I forgot how much a force of nature my mother could be! She appeared smaller than I remembered—not delicate, but somehow, more fragile. Her tears dried for the moment, as we sat at the kitchen table, sipping tea. It was like we used to do before school some mornings—mother and son—tea and empathy.

I said I was sorry again, this time face-to-face. Could I ever apologize enough? “I’m so sorry, ma. I’m sorry for everything!” It sounded pathetic, but sincere.

“We all make mistakes,” she said calmly. “All is forgiven now,” she went on. “You’re home— safe and sound. That’s all that matters. My William is home!” she proclaimed.

I sat at the table while ma put away the food that Nana sent with me. She kept talking, catching me up on all the missing years’ events. I watched her and listened, uttering only a word here and there. It was her time, and I understood that. It was important for her to verbally deal with her competing emotions. I felt that I knew her now, probably better than she knew herself! We were so much alike in some ways. We both had flashes of personality—full of charm and grace—or we could become sullen and mean spirited, hiding our fear and anger! I was learning how to love her. She had done the best she could with who she was, and she deserved my nonjudgmental love.

NOV. 13, 1925 – OCT. 22, 2016