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Richie's Mother


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Richie's Mother

The door opened and there was a woman with long red finger nails. Between the two fore fingers of her hand was a long lit cigarette held up right. She was an older woman about my Mother’s age that looked like she was once glamorous but not quite so much anymore.

“Don’t tell me, you’re Conan! Yes, Conan Richard told me all about you. I mean, Hyperion.”

Her laugh was similar to his. She invited me into the small apartment and then still looking at me called out, “Richard!”

Hyperion appeared from out of his room.

“Conan, you want a tuna sandwich, I just made one for Richie, I mean Hyperion. I get his names so muddled up and as soon as I get use to it, he goes and changes it. “

Hyperion came up and stood alongside of her. “What did you call yourself last year?”

Hyperion looked irritated, he said, “Let it alone, Mom.”

She smiled and said, “See how he is? Conan, I’m making you and a sandwich anyway and if you don’t eat it, Richie will later on.”

We all sat around a table that was half in the kitchenette and the living room.

“Richie, will you take apart Frank’s weights and stow all that stuff under the couch for me please?”

She Looked at me and said, “Richie, I mean Hyperion’s brother left for the Middle East early this morning. I am going to be so worried about him. He was so proud to be going off to defend his country.”

I saw Hyperion roll his eyes.

His Mother adoringly stoked Hyperion’s hair and then said, “Richie, does your friend know that you’re gay?”

Hyperion stared at the half eaten sandwich and furrowed his brow in exasperation, “Mother! You are not supposed to do things like that! What is the matter with you?”

He had a shocked look on his face followed by an audible huff.

His Mother realized that she had upset him. “Well, I thought that’s how it’s done these days, you know coming out and all?”

Hyperion raised his voice and said, “I’m supposed to come out.”

He tapped his finger hard at his own chest and then said, “You're not supposed to drag unsuspecting people out into the open like that! And if you must know, yes, he knows!”

His Mother distracted herself by lighting another cigarette.

I found the whole exchange between Hyperion and his mother amusing. His mother was nice and well meaning if not a little loony.

She looked at me and said, "Do you watch Dr. Phil?"

I gave her an uncommitted smile.

She gathered up her keys, cigarettes and bag and said, “Well boys, I have to get to work. Richie, will you remember to take those damn weights apart before someone stubs their toe on them? Well, nice meeting you Conan, Richie always has the nicest friends.”

Grabbing a coat she was out the door.

Hyperion and I sat looking at each other across the table.

A smile slowly appeared on his face. “Guess what? When Mom goes off to work, this becomes our home. Just you and me and we can do anything we want.”

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