A few days later Dad called me from his office phone (his office is off the dining room, but it's a private line). As soon as I saw the caller ID, I knew this would be the "Please call your mother" phone call. I took it, and we talked respectfully like adults. He apologized to me for continuing to support my brother, and said that he was the one who wrote the second check, because he's terrified that my brother will do something dangerous to him or to my mom if he says no while he's in the house. Dad's a little fucked up too, but I appreciated his calm apology.
I told Dad that I would call Mom, that I wasn't trying to freeze her out, but that I needed some time to calm down and pull myself together. However, I wasn't going to apologize to her for saying things she didn't agree with. I can try to not fight with her again, but I'm not going to pretend to believe something that I don't just to make her feel better. He agreed that I shouldn't, and he also said, "I'm not sure you have to apologize. I'm not asking you to do that. I'm just saying that she needs to hear from you, but I think she's scared to pick up the phone." Fine, no emotional manipulation there, NONE AT ALL.
So ok, I spoke to her again. Told her right out of the gate that I wasn't going to rehash the last conversation, but that I was calling to say that I was concerned that she was going through such a rough time. Immediately she hops back on to her train of proving herself right. Nope. Not playing. If that's all you got, then I have to go.
Then she pulls out of her hat the funniest thing I've heard her say in a long time.
She's going on about how evil she KNOWS her grandson's mother is, "After all, she bought him a LIGHTER for his POT."
"What?! How many teenage boys have lighters?"
"No, no. She bought it for him. She's the one who buys him his pot too. Where else would he get it?"
Bwa-HA-HA!! Huge guffaws of laughter spurt out of my throat with such force that I think pulled a tendon in my neck. (Testing. Yep. It still hurts if I touch my ear to my shoulder.) After I stopped choking and wheezing I said, "Mom, she's in her middle forties. 'A' is in High School. It's a hell of a lot easier for a kid to get pot than an adult. YOU are an IDIOT."
"Well, where would he get the money?"
"You're insane! Have you never heard of dime bag? As in ten bucks? It's sold by the joint, you know."
Much sputtering. Some more handwaving. Some yelling. I hang up the phone again.
"Where else would he get his pot?" Good Lord, I'm still laughing over that one.
In the quiet moments after the phone call, I realized that we really are dealing with a caged animal here. Challenge her convictions and she comes flying at the glass, teeth bared. Somehow over time she lulls me into thinking that she's slowly getting more rational. That one day she'll get her narcissism and mania under control. But this week. Uh uh. Nope. Truth is what you see before you. She's never been calm or sane, only the facade is still.
She is one busy gerbil though.
Part Three is where I get the other side of the story, and finally, calmly, step out myself for good.