October 7, 2011: Marriott Hotel, New York City, New York, United States of America
True to form, her mother was sipping on Dom Perignon Champagne. By the time Lilith walked through the restaurant. Alonia was on the phone, her tone was harsh. On the table was her iPad, the screen showing an exchange of e-mails.
“It’s not that difficult, Gladys. It’s just a two-bedroom apartment in that neighbourhood. Surely, you’ll manage to find me something in a month. No-no, I don’t care how much it’s going to cost. I just need it ready in a month.” Alonia shook her head, as she flipped through her iPad.
So engrossed in her conversation, Alonia didn’t notice Lilith taking the seat across from her. It was only when Lilith’s latte was brought to the table that Alonia finally ended the call.
“Screaming at another real estate agent, I see. You and Allan moving somewhere?” Lilith joked, as she blew the steam off of her latte. The rich caffeine aroma woke her up, making her feel refreshed and ready to take on her mother.
“No, we’re not; it’s for you. If I don’t find your apartment suitable, you’ll have to move out. And I’m unwilling to compromise on this bit,” Alonia replied as she took a sip of her soda.
“I missed you too, Mum. And the aprtment you got me is fine;; perfectly fine.”
“Exactly! You feel the same way: we haven’t spent that much time together. When are you coming home? And it never hurts to have a back-up; never hurts.”
“I’ll visit you in two weeks, once all the furniture’s been delivered. I’m just waiting on my dining table.”
Forty-seven year-old Alonia looked at her daughter: Lilith was turning twenty-one. And despite what Lilith says, she was starting to look more and more like Alonia.
‘There’s still so much she has to learn,’ Alonia thought to herself.
“I just don’t understand why you’re so eager to move away from me. I’ve friends in the design industry in Washington; we can work something out.”
“Friends? You’ve no friends in design.” Lilith said sarcastically as she sipped from her cup.
“Alright, acquaintances. Nonetheless, I’ve connections you can utilise. You’re independent, I get it already. You don’t have to prove anything else to me.”
Lilith places the cup back on the table and reaches out for her mother’s arm.
“I’m not trying to get away from you, Mum. I just don’t want to rely on you any more. Except for dinner. You’re paying, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Perhaps some lobster will convince you to move back to Washington with me.”
“It’s going to take a lot more than lobster for that, Mum.”
“You know, there’s no shame in moving back in with your mother, Lilith. If anything, in today’s economy, it’s practically ideal.”
“C’mon, Mum! You should be thrilled! Your daughter, all eager to grow up. That’s something exciting shit! Besides, you and Allan would lose your privacy if I moved back in.”
“Never mind your step father; he can deal with it.”
Lilith started getting frustrated with her mother. For years, she’s tried to protect her mother’s feelings. Because though Alonia was fierce and uncompromising, she was also sensitive. “Why don’t we take a step back and tackle the real issue here? You’ve separation anxiety.”
“Separation anxiety? Well, what do you expect from me? I’m your mother! Suddenly, worrying about your safety and well-being has to be classified as some sort of psychological impairment!”
Lilith took a sip of from her now-cold latte, and struggled to choose her next words carefully, “I didn’t say you were being unreasonable; it’s ingrained into all of us. But I have to live my life, and expect you not to keep me from it. I expect you to be there with me, the entire step of the way.”
Alonia was speechless. She never thought of holding back her daughter from anything. As a matter of fact, she felt her daughter was limiting herself from a world of possibilities with her latest lifestyle choices.
Seeing her mother at a loss for words, she found the strength to carry forward. “I’m at the very beginning of my own adventure, and I’m scared and excited beyond measure. And I want you there when I succeed and when I fail. For both of them are inevitable.”
“Failure? You expect to fail?” Alonia managed to spit out. She never understood failure, and always took premeditated steps to ensure that it has the least possibility of happening. Yet, here was her daughter embracing what she thought was beneath her.
“Oh yeah, I do. Absolutely! I’m not looking forward to it, if that’s what you think. But like everything else, we stand together. Even if it is just in my studio apartment.” She chuckles. “Weird, right? How different you and I can be? Yet, your blood rages through my veins.”
Alonia laughs. She knew her daughter to be fragile. But in a single moment, their entire night changes, and she saw her daughter in a different light: vivacious and unrelenting.
As the aforementioned lobster finally makes its appearance in front of a hungry Lilith, Alonia resigns with, “I don’t think you’d fail as hard as you think you will. Now, let’s finish up dinner and retire to your apartment, and see how we can fix it up some more.”