I sat on the bus with tears rolling down my face. I didn’t care if people saw me or what they would think. Not that it would have made a difference if they did, I couldn’t help but cry. There are two people in this world I can’t stand being on ‘bad’ terms with, it’s absolutely the worst thing in the world when they are mad at me or disappointed with me. Those people are my mom and Mama. I knew what was going to happen the moment I read that text message. I knew that Mama wouldn’t understand, would instead be left hurt and confused. I was exactly right.
When I made the decision about a year ago to graduate a year early, I knew Mama just had to be at my graduation. I mean how could she not be? She flew to New York from Florida just to see me for my prom and high school graduation. College graduation trumps both of those easily. So when I told her she had to come, I knew she would be there. What I didn’t know is that she would wait until almost the last minute to book her flight. (OK, graduation isn’t until May 12, but when it comes to buying tickets, you do it as early as possible.) Mama’s smart and even smarter with her money and she is pretty savvy when it comes to flying being that she does do a lot of traveling back and forth to Florida, New York and Dominican Republic. I was nervous that her putting off buying a ticket meant that she didn’t want to come. I just didn’t understand what she was waiting for. Finally, about a week ago my aunt texted me to confirm the dates to book Mama’s ticket. I was in class at the time, which is conveniently located in the basement of one of my school’s buildings. I didn’t have any service, not that that mattered, I don’t look at my phone during that class because I am literally afraid of my professor, (in a good way). By the time I saw the text, it was too late. She had already booked the ticket for dates I wouldn’t be available for. I know it was’t my fault and I still don’t understand why the two of them after waiting all this time to get a ticket in the first place, couldn’t just wait a little while longer for my response, but nonetheless, I felt horribly bad and knew I’d be blamed and labeled ‘the bad guy.’ I specifically told Mama the earliest date she could come. Unfortunately, it was only the day before my graduation. Before it, I would still have work to go to, a final exam to take, Ian’s graduation to attend and his family to hang out with. I told her she could stay later than the rest of my family was. But, Mama had booked a ticket to come to Buffalo about a week earlier than my graduation date and to leave several days after.
While walking to the bus after my class was over, my aunt told me she had already purchased it. I told her that I wasn’t going to be all right with leaving Mama alone in my apartment with nothing to do while I was away. It didn’t matter. She told me that Mama didn’t mind. I minded. I immediately began to cry as I called my mom to tell her what happened, to tell her that she had to talk to her sister, to tell her that this wasn’t OK. Mama may have been all right with nothing to do for hours, but I wasn’t. I mean, I don’t even have a T.V. in my room. She said that she could take care of herself, that she could cook and clean and do my laundry and iron my clothes. That would have been OK if she hadn’t planned to stay in my apartment as long she had. All of that would take up maybe half a day and even so, would have been extremely uncomfortable and awkward being that I live with two roommates who I am not exactly ‘friends’ with. I was so upset because I didn’t want Mama to get the wrong idea, that I didn’t want her to come. That I didn’t want her to see and spend time in Buffalo. Of course though, this is exactly what she thought.
After talking to my mom, I called Ian and couldn’t hold back my emotions as I began to sob and hyperventilate. Yes, a bit of a strong reaction but I just felt so helpless and terrible and so many other emotions. I just knew what was to come, how Mama would react and feel, I couldn’t bear to think I had hurt her. Still, that didn’t stop her from hurting my feelings as she repeatedly said to me that she was canceling her ticket and not coming altogether because I didn’t want her to. I couldn’t have her do that or think that I didn’t want her there. All I wanted was for her to come, but during the time that I would actually be there too, be able to hang out with her, show her a ‘good’ time, spend time together. She had such a hard time understanding my side and of course the language barrier made it even more difficult to make it clear to her my reasonings and feelings. tried to picture what we’d do during our time together if it were to come down to that. Of course, I would have loved her to come and stay with me but I didn’t want to have to sacrifice attending my boyfriend’s graduation and the festivities that follow. It’s absolutely horrible to say, but as much as I wish I could invite her, I knew I couldn’t. Dinner with his family would be weird, all of them trying to communicate with one another. So awkward. I didn’t want to do that to her. I didn’t want to have to choose. I would of course have chosen her, would have missed seeing Ian graduate, missed his dinner party and picking his mom up from the airport just so that Mama wouldn’t be alone. I didn’t want to have to make that decision though. I didn’t think it was fair considering all the time she was given beforehand to get a ticket at a reasonable price. I needed help. I called my uncle, I knew that he would be able to speak to her calmly and rationally to get her to see my side a little and make the situation better. Thank God for him because I don’t know if Mama would be coming to my graduation if he hadn’t have worked his magic with her. He got her to change her ticket to visit my parents and siblings in Long Island instead and then take the trip up to Buffalo with my dad by car.
After she told me of her changes, it didn’t make me feel any better. I still felt the strain between us, the awkward tension. The harshness of her voice said it all, the ‘fakeness’ in her tone. I didn’t know how to behave after we hung up the phone. Ian joked that she didn’t love me anymore and I couldn’t help but agree. Couldn’t help feeling she loved me a little bit less then she had before. I didn’t know where to go from there. Do I call her the next day like I usually would have? Do I wait for her to call me? The entire next day I spent debating on what to do. After the whole day had gone by, it was 11 p.m. and there was still no word from Mama. I was a little anxious and unsure how I felt that she still hadn’t called me. I decided to suck it up, be a grown up and call her. I thought I might as well get this whole thing over with, call her, see where we stand, the sooner we can get this behind us, the better. When she answered all seemed normal, she said she was waiting to call me because she though I’d be at work.
I felt relieved, I felt reassured and I felt rejuvenated. We were back. The Great Divide was over.