She didn’t laugh when my grades finally arrived. In fact, in her state of rage,she tore down all my Duran Duran posters and made me cry. I hated her and at that moment in time I wanted to run away and find somewhere else to live. I thought of it and I shouted it at her. All she had to say was “Don’t let the door hit you in your ass as you go.”
I had been collecting those Duran Duran posters for the last year and some of them were no longer being sold. It was the week after Christmas, and I had been out with Fran. We had gone to the movies and had seen the dorky movie Ghost Busters. I had the stupid theme song going through my head—“Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters,” when I was going up the back porch stairs. I saw my grades on the kitchen table. I took a look at them and realized before even walking into my bedroom that I was in big trouble. I had gotten all C’s and a D- in French. At least I didn’t flunk anything. I mean, I got C’s…what’s the big deal? Everyone knows that I’m no Einstein. As I looked around my room, picking up scraps of my posters and wiping away my tears, I thought, “Why is my mother so insane?” Why can’t she just leave me alone and let me be! But that was never going to happen in the next four years.
I was cursed, and I was going to be hounded by my mother until I moved out. Well, that’s what she said when I went screaming into her bedroom. It felt good to scream at her. But it didn’t matter, she just told me that I better get my act together or she was going to find me a tutor. Also, I had better stop dressing so funny and start thinking about how I was going to improve my grades rather than my sense of style. “Why did you have to rip down my posters”? I cried.
“I needed to get your attention,” she said smugly.
I slammed her bedroom door and stomped back to my room.
Well, maybe I had some learning disability. Maybe I wasn’t blessed with the academic gene? “Determination,” mother says, “not brains, gets you through high-school and college. Ninety-five percent is sweat and tears.” I had plenty of tears!
It’s not like I don’t read. I’ve ventured down to the basement where my parents keep all their stuffy academic books. I’ve picked over them to see if I can get through any of them, and I have. Well, I’ve tried. I have to say, mother does have a pretty good collection of smut. And when I found out that my father was an atheist, I did try to read a couple of his philosophy texts. Heck, I read. I’ve read all of Judy Blume’s books and whatever is assigned in class. I just finished Catcher in the Rye. So, I barely passed French. Ms. Giccone is mean! I can’t hear her half the time and she makes me recite from the Little Prince, in front of the class. And I have a terrible time with it because I have stage fright, so I fumble over the words. The woman is pure evil. I think she enjoys watching me squirm in my seat. And the rest of my classes are just boring.
Why can’t life just be simple like Nanna’s red sauce simmering away on her stove: The sweet smelling aromas taking over my senses as I’d make my way up her back porch. But no, Mother had to make it so complicated. Like, Nanna said, if you put to much garlic in the sauce it overpowers the whole sauce. Well, my mother is my garlic.
I wiped my tears and under my breath I called my mother every swear word I knew in English and Italian, which were a lot. I got a trash bag and started to throw away the scraps of posters. I went through my closet, too, and started pulling out all the mismatched, unattractive outfits my Nanna had bought me over the years and stuffed them into the bags. With that done, I sat in front of my bedroom mirror and thought: I want to pierce my ears several times, and tomorrow I am going to cut my hair and then I am going to see Dr. Bright, my eye doctor, and get myself a new pair of glasses; smaller and more becoming to my face. And I just might dye my hair black. Take that mother!, And Oh, I might wear crazy silver bracelets. And I am so getting new posters. But this time, posters of bands that have something to say.
Unfortunately, by braces didn’t come off for another year, and there was nothing I could do about the blemishes, but in time they would go away. Mother was just going to have to deal with my change because there was nothing she could do about it. It was upon me and it was going to be ever so different —just like my Nanna’s red sauce!