“Hello,” Rupert said into the phone, his voice groggy from sleep. The space in the bed next to him was cold.
“Rupert, Honey, are you still looking for work?” the telephone said back to him.
“What? Huh? Who is this?”
“This is your mother, did I wake you? You weren’t still sleeping were you. It’s almost 7 o’clock.”
“Mom, you’re in Florida, I’m in L.A. when it’s 7 o’clock at your house it’s only 4 o’clock here.”
“Oh well, never mind. You’re up now, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I guess so. What’s going on, Mom?”
“It’s Mother’s Day and I hadn’t heard from you. I’ve been a little worried, and I saw this ad in the ‘Gator Grove Gazette’. It says that Gary Grainger is hiring at the gas station. I know you’ve been looking for work out there in California for several years now and I thought you might be ready to come home. This could be a good opportunity for you.”
Rupert sat up in the bed and parted the curtains to look outside. He watched a shadow roll across the grinning Cheshire Cat moon.
“Rupert? Are you still there?”
“Yeah, I’m here Mom.”
“What do you think?”
“Mom, I’m not looking for work. I’ve got a job. I’m a writer. I work at the studio. I’m not going to give up my career to take a job at a gas station in Florida.”
“Oh, Rupert, writing is not a real job. You just tell me that so I won’t worry about you, but I do. I’m your mother. I worry about you all the time. It’s what I do.”
“Don’t worry Mom. I’m doing great, but I need to get back to sleep. I’ll call you later today. Did you get the card I sent?”
“Rupert, do you have a girl there? Is that why you want to get off the phone so badly? When are you going to bring her home so I can meet her? I can hardly wait to become a grandmother. All the girls at my club are grandmothers. That’s all they go on about.”
“Goodbye, Mom. I’ll call you back later. I need to sleep.”
Rupert hung up the phone and watched the moon. He listened to the sounds of traffic coming from the 110 freeway in the distance, and lay back down.
It was no use. He tossed and turned for almost twenty minutes before he got up and went down to the kitchen. The coffee pot was still warm and there was a note from Jason:
Don’t forget we have a barbecue with my folks today.
I should be back around 7:30.
See you then.
Rupert smiled, poured a cup of coffee and picked up the phone. He was going to have to tell her at some point. Mother’s Day might be as good a day as any. He dialed his Mom’s number in Gator Grove.
“Hello,” she answered.
“Hey Mom, it’s me again. You know how you asked me earlier about a girl?”