Monday, February 28, 2011

An honest woman in the land of sin

I'm a terrible daughter. I must be, but I know my mother forgives me for it, which makes it okay, and worse. My one New Year's resolution this year was to call her every Sunday, and for the fist few Sundays I did, and every time I did you'd think I'd published a new essay in the New Yorker or something, I was so proud. She liked it, too, even though we soon ran out of things to talk about towards the end of January.

So I went to Italy for my birthday around that time, and since I didn't want to pay for a long distance call, skipped the Sunday I was there, and a few more Sundays, five in fact, until she finally called me today on the last day of February to tell me it was her fiancee's birthday. He told me he didn't want a gift she said, so I'm taking him to Red Lobster and I said I'M PAYING tonight, and he said fine.

I told her she should get him a shirt. She said I buy him shirts when it's not his birthday. Fine, I said, do whatever you want, you know that man and I don't, but when most people say they don't want anything for their birthday they're usually lying. We all know this.

This is when my mother apologized for sending me nothing but a text message for my birthday, saying I hate it when people give me things I don't need and I didn't want to do that to you. I thought: a card would've been nice, but said Italy was enough, that I had a good trip and lots of good food.

Then I asked about the details of the marriage plans, if there were any, when, how, soon, later. We're doing it on Easter she said, because it represents rebirth! Where I said, in a church? Las Vegas, she said, we're going to go for a week, we'll take a bus tour when we're there, go to all the casinos, but I won't take too much money to gamble with, maybe a couple hundred.

Vegas on Easter I said, isn't that a bit of a paradox? It's the land of sin! Rebirth she said, you know like eggs hatching, and our anniversary won't be hard to remember. I suggested my mother skip the bus tour since there was nothing much to see but a bunch of light bulbs affixed to buildings. But the bus tour we took in Los Angeles was nice, she said.

Vegas is a little different, mom. I would know, I got married in an Elvis chapel there a few months ago after you recommended it would be more romantic than going to the Beverly Hills court house. And wasn't it nice she said. I guess so, I said. And my anniversary's Friday the 13th, so that's not hard to remember either. Don't worry, said my mother, in Korea Friday the 13th doesn't exist, it's just another day. I'll keep that in mind I said. And congratulations.

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