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“So where are you going, Mom?” I asked.
“I don’t know if you remember Sally from when I went back to get my masters at Hunter?”
“Oh you mean when you tried to go back to Hunter for your masters?” Jill said with contempt in her voice.
“You’re not even trying, are you?!?” I yelled at her. “Come on! Just be positive! Why is this so hard for us?”
Jill barely took a breath, replying immediately with: “Maybe it’s because we all hate each other?! Maybe its because Mom and Dad never taught us what love looks like? Maybe it’s because Dad hated us so much he smoked and died just so he could get out of this family! What kind of Puerto Rican parents name their firstborn daughter ‘Jill’ anyway?”
Her outburst was so unexpected I swear it was like a white hot flash of angry light overtook my vision. In hindsight, I’m glad/lucky that wasn’t a sign I was morphing into Super Alien DNA Jacob.
I was just coming back to reality when my instincts kicked in and I spoke. “This is not at all how I wanted this to go. So, I’m just going to say this.”
I glanced over to Jill and then back to Mom. “Mom, Jill and I are involved in something big with the government.”
Mom’s face changed from stone to an expression of worry as I continued. “We are trying help stop something big and bad and dangerous from happening and I wanted us all to meet one last time before what ever happens next might… might, I don’t know… maybe the worst will happen.”
“You two might die?”
“Yes, Mom, yes. We’re doing incredibly important work that may save thousands, maybe m-m-millions of lives,” Jill said.
Several emotions flowed across Mom’s face. At first she looked like she didn’t believe Jill’s words, but that quickly changed to a look that, to me, suggested she was experiencing the urge to believe we were serious. Then she looked terrified. Next, she looked proud. Finally she looked resigned with a bit of sad mixed in.
“Thank you for visiting me. I’m… I’m sorry I haven’t treated you better.”
I smiled softly at her. “It’s ok, Mom. We just showed up out of the blue–that really put you on the spot.”
“No, I mean for everything. Your dad and I we just… we did not… I’d like to blame my parents and your dad’s parents, but it’s us who did this to you. I have no idea if I can believe what you are saying,” Mom said, hesitating as Jill’s face looked like it was on fire.
“Jill!” I said, putting my hand up, palm facing her. I nodded to Mom to continue.
“But it’s clear that you believe it. And you believe the danger is real. I can see it in your eyes and hear it in your voices. I know you both. You’re my babies.” She began to tear up.
“So, you go do what you need to do.”
I stood up and hugged her, whispering in her ear “Thanks, Mom! Now, go hug Jill!”
Mom pulled away from me, and sat down next to Jill. They sat there for a moment and Mom spoke. “You know, it’s OK if you want to hate me forever. Just so long as you keep loving me.”
I covered my mouth trying to fight back tears as they stared at each other awkwardly finally, they both moved to hug each other at the same time.
It was the most beautiful hug I’d ever seen.