When he had made the perfect knot in the tie, Jake stared at his reflection. So long ago but it seemed like only yesterday. A small smile tugged the corners of his lips. He ran a hand through his wavy, cinnamon brown hair. Today was going to be a big celebration; the biggest in his life, thus far. He needed to look perfect. No, better than perfect – flawless.
“You look great,” he heard his mother say from somewhere behind him.
Jake turned and smiled at her. She was standing by the bedroom door, absently clutching the knob with one hand. There was pride in her eyes. They were big and blue and bright – just like his own – and filled with so much love for her son. In her left one, there was a gleam where a tear threatened to fall at any moment. She quickly swiped at it with the back of her other hand then sniffed, before gliding across the carpeted floor in three graceful steps.
“I’m sorry,” she said, still holding back a bit of motherly sentiment. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I knocked, but I guess you didn’t hear me.”
“It’s fine,” he grinned down at her, “I was just finishing up.”
Her eyes swept over him to analyze his appearance from head to toe. Immediately, she zeroed in on his tie. On instinct, her slim fingers went to work correcting his previous attempt. After she was done and all was to her liking, she smiled a pleased smirk.
“Much better,” she said, complimenting herself. “Now you’re all set.”
He nodded then wished he had spoken his thank you instead, because now he saw the concern in her gaze. Like only a mother could, she sensed his inner nervousness.
“Guess who’s downstairs?” He could tell by her light tone that she was trying to shift the heavy mood floating in the room.
“Who?” Jake echoed her question with his own.
“Uncle Buck,” she replied with a wicked gleam in her eyes.
The answer shocked him. This was truly an unexpected turn of events.
“Really?” The corners of his lips were curved into a half-hearted smile, and his voice held just a bit of tension.
“Yeah. He’s down there trying to look all stiff and grumpy with that signature sourpuss pout of his,” she continued with a small laugh, while helping him put his tailored jacket on. Once Jake had slipped his arms through the starched and pressed sleeves, she walked around him slowly, plucking imaginary pieces of lint from the back and lapel. “But, you know what?”
“What?” He asked, knowing any story involving Uncle Buck was bound to come with a lesson in morality.
You see what he’s doing? His mother would ask young Jake.
Uh-huh, he would nod.
Don’t ever, ever do that. You got me?
And he knew, with every fiber of her being, she meant those words. If Jakey dared repeat a word or a single random act while trying to follow his uncle’s example, it was sure to lead to a smack to the bottom right afterward.
“I can see right through his act,” she said with humor in her voice. “I can tell…in his own way…that he’s really happy for you.”
“Ha!” It was hard to believe that an old-time bigot like him could feel anything close to happiness at an event like this. In fact, it was borderline delusional. “Yeah, well, as long as he doesn’t cause any problems today, he’s welcome to stay for as long as he likes.”
“Believe me,” she said with the slight rise of her left brow. “If he even hints that he’s going to crack open that rotten-tooth mouth and spill any kind of hateful filth, I’ll be the first to grab him by those dusty trousers of his and toss him straight at the front door.”
He laughed. A full and rich laugh, because he knew that his mother wasn’t bluffing. His father had wondered aloud – several times, as far back as Jake could recall – who really wore the pants in this family.
“Love you, ma,” he said while placing a soft kiss on her brow. Afterward he pulled her into a tight hug, which led to a waterfall of tears spilling over her pale cheeks.
“I can’t believe this day is finally here,” she exclaimed breathlessly. “I’m just so dog-gone happy for you twwwoooo…” more tears erupted.
“I know, ma. Me too…me too.”
I’m writing all of these in real-time, so it’s going to take a while to get it all typed out and ready to read. I have the stories all mapped out in my head, it’s just a matter of transferring them into e-ink. Please be patient with me. I love writing and I’m open to suggestions and questions about anything I post. *Thanks*