My mother works too hard. She works two jobs hard. My father lies restless on his bed, a book in his hand. I wonder how they go on.
They were so young before they were old. I’ve seen the photos, I’ve heard the stories. They had dreams and goals and big ideas and when they met each other, they fell in love. My mother wore a dress her mother made, my father an Air Force uniform. How proud they were of their clothes, how long they took to get ready for their dates! How shy were my mother’s smiles? How big were my father’s lies?
I bet he told her she’d never have to work. I bet he told her he’d take care of her for the rest of her life. I bet he said he’d be a big man and she’d never feel lonely again. I bet she believed him and in her hopeful little heart I bet she decided right then to always take care of him.
If only they could have been young forever. If only they hadn’t been in such a hurry to find the future. I know my mother’s back is bent by my father’s broken dreams and I know their bond is stronger than her disappointment.
My father turns the page. My mother sits down on the edge of the bed. “You hungry?” she asks. “I already ate.” he replies. She reaches for the light next to her. It clicks off and my father turns on his side, he readjusts his light so it falls on the book in his hand. She lies down and reaches out, patting his back as she falls asleep. She dreams of her young man and the big man he will one day be.