“If you had the choice to have a beautiful apartment to come home to and live in or a pigsty in chaos that is only cleaned every few weeks – what would you choose?” my mother asked as I filled the kettle with water.
“Is this a trick question?” I grinned as I turned off the faucet.
“Relax. It’s just a question.” she leaned forward and folded her arms on the table.
“I don’t think anyone prefers coming home to chaos.” I chuckled. “Why?”
“And if you had the choice to throw money away or keep it in your wallet?”
“What does that mean?” I shot her glance as I grabbed the mugs and tea basket from the corner cupboard.
“It’s a simple question.”
“Keep it in my wallet……” I said slightly distracted as I set the table for tea.
“Okay. Would you rather be belittled, told you’re disgusting, be lied to, have your time wasted……”
“I think I’d rather not have to talk about this.” I interrupted, knowing the point she was getting to. Plus, the tea was ready. I carried the cups to the table and filled the tea cage with some peppermint.
“Get physically ill, stop menstruating, stop sleeping well, be treated like absolute shit ….or, OR literally anything else?” Her eyes peered into mine as she crossed her arms, reading my face.
“I get it, alright. Thanks though.” I took a sip.
“No, you don’t. Every time you started spending time with that dipshit you become miserable. You stop taking care of yourself because everything becomes about him. He treats you like dirt, and you’re not even happy about it and you shut down. And then things end and you become yourself again. You’re happy and healthy, and you’re off meeting people and the house looks great, and you look great and you smile so much more – and no you don’t get it. You are my strong, intelligent, smart mouthed , gorgeous kid but you’re not – you’re not when he’s around. He treats you like dirt. And you let him. Every time you let him it’s you choosing less and he isn’t worth it. Nobody is worth that. Especially him. Makes me want to smack you in the face.”
And hearing my mother say that – knowing that it affected her too – that was enough reason for me.