Ruthie, Aaron’s sister, and the font of all wisdom
concerning Julia, arrived on Friday.
As she unpacked she tried to pick a fight. Shirley
was surprised at Julia’s lack of interest. She began
to wonder if Ruthie’s version wasn’t a bit off.
On Saturday, they took Julia to the Mall where she
adopted amused silence.
Shirley had a suspicion it was not going to be that
easy to get rid of Julia.
Firstly, Julia was not at all as Ruthie portrayed her.
Cynth was more caustic;
“Any girl who insults her own mother for a stranger is
just trash. You can’t believe anything out of Ruthie’s
Secondly, keeping the air-con on twenty four hours
a day, seven days a week was a high price to pay to
annoy Aaron’s mother; although that worthy took to
shutting it off as soon as she was alone in the house.
Thirdly, Shirley felt that Julia saw through her and
floated between amused and contemptuous.
As the week progressed the food lasted a bit longer
than expected, and though she’d left Julia out of
her weekly shopping, Aaron had picked up ‘a few
things’ so his mother wouldn’t starve.
Cynth was alarmed when she heard this;
“Don’t let it be you against her, Shirley. She’s playing
the part of victim, making you the warder!”
Shirley bowed to her mother’s knowledge and tried to
be a bit nicer to Julia, though policing the thermostat
remained her vocation.
Shirley came to the conclusion Julia would spend the
planned thirty days no matter how uncomfortable.
Cynth and Shirley came up with a plan;
Introduce Julia to their friends then go to a joint
where only meat was served. But it let it seem her
friends had decided.
Shirley mentioned a particular restaurant to Malika,
who told Rick, who directed Aaron where they were to eat.
While they stuffed their faces, Julia stood outside.
Aaron seemingly unaware that his mother was excluded,
so interested in what Rick had to say.
When they finally reached home, Julia went to the
fridge to prepare herself a meal. Shirley smirked
as she went to watch the big screen television.
She kept hoping that Julia would say something
so Aaron could respond with the ridiculous;
‘But my friend Rick wanted to eat there,’
then berate his mother for standing outside.
Unfortunately, after Julia cooked and ate, she went
into her room.
Shirley rang up Cynth the next day who passed the
details to her friends.
“So the boy let his mother stand outside while he
and his friends ate? If I had a son like that,
I’d drown him!” One said, the others agreed.
Cynth decided not to share any more tidbits as the
reflection on her son-in-law was quite dark, however,
she couldn’t avoid;
“When I was visiting, they rolled out the red carpet
for me. Every night another restaurant, and they
took me everywhere.”
“Well that’s different isn’t it? Your daughter respects
you and wouldn’t let Aaron treat you like dirt. But a
man who doesn’t respect his mother doesn’t respect
women so you can expect anything from him…”
came the response.
By the final week of Julia’s visit vegetarian meals
ran out. Shirley waited for a response, but there
Apparently, Julia was not eating and seemed to have
lost weight she couldn’t afford. If she got sick…
hence Shirley whisked off to the vegan restaurant
Aaron had taken her to on arrival.
Julia ate more food at one meal than she had during
her stay, proving she really was famished.
At home, Aaron confronted his mother.
Shirley knew Aaron’s reaction to guilt was anger, trying
to assuage his responsibility by making another at fault.
Hence, the fact his mother was uncomfortable was, of
course, his mother’s fault.
Shirley turned down the sound on the television to hear
Aaron’s voice, then Julia, who previously could bearly
string two sentences together recite a litany.
Shirley stood behind the door, hearing Julia describe how
she had been locked in a house
without a key, starved, frozen,
and that if he had invited her to
his house to torture he ought
have sent her to Gitmo.
Surely Aaron had to have realised how cold his mother
was, that she’d lost weight, and that despite the fact
the city was a tourist mecca, they had not taken Julia
to one amusement. NOT ONE.
For twenty six days Julia had been in this city and
outside of two restaurant visits, a trip to the Mall
and supermarket, she had been nowhere.
Shirley recalled Cynth’s first visit….
She pulled away from the door. She felt guilty
so watched her television.
The next day Aaron took his mother out. Then again
on the twenty ninth day of her visit.
On the thirtieth day Julia left.
Aaron felt very badly. Shirley pretended she didn’t notice.