Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Good Thomas

Even if you had an opinion on where he should go, you had to concede that Good Thomas was in a tough situation. His best friend of twenty-eight years and his mother dying in the same week, and the funerals scheduled for the same day. The woman who had given him life and all those morals, versus the childhood friend who grew up to answer every time he was stranded somewhere and needed a ride, including all three midnight calls from the middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma.

But while you’d sympathize to his face, everyone still judged him for which service he attended. His sisters were furious, while Charlotte’s sisters were gracious and listened to all his lamentations about how sweet she’d been. Locals gossiped that this confirmed it, the old it, the it of a secret affair between the two. Him kneeling and whispering to the casket didn’t help matters.

Well maybe Good Thomas’s mother wasn’t actually dead, a cousin suggested. One phone call disproved that. Charlotte’s mother stewed on it, not approving of such disrespect from a son to the woman who had given him life. She seemed nearly as angry at him as she was broken up about the loss of her daughter, and refused to see him. When he brought over a drink for her, she batted his hand and he deferred right out of the church.

Twenty minutes later one of Charlotte’s sisters caught him waiting by the roadside, calling a cab. He reckoned he’d fly north and catch the end of services back home. She asked why he’d come anyway.

“Why come at all? Why not just pay respects to your mother?”

“These were the two most important women in my life,” he said. “Summons came the same hour. I got no break over this, and it came down to one thing: if they were both alive, what would they want? Charlotte would have told me to go to my mother's funeral. Mother would have demanded I stay at hers.”

“Of course she’d want you to go to your mom’s. So why didn’t you?”

“Because that speaks to their characters. Charlotte being the more giving of the two, she deserved my attendance more. And if that’s unacceptable to my mother, I don’t really have to explain it to her."

Charlotte’s sister didn’t agree. When she repeated it, they didn’t become much more agreeable, though thought it was funny. The kind of humor Charlotte would have laughed at. They had to wonder if it wasn’t a joke he’d made up to whisper at her casket, and kept it instead of saying why he really came. They couldn’t know – only three people really could guess, and two were dead, and the third was in the air flying to New York.

7 comments:

  1. You know what? I would've done the same thing as Thomas. Nice work, John.

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  2. Poor Thomas, but I think he made the right decision no matter what anyone else thought.

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  3. When it comes to family relationships, it seems like nothing is ever easy. Thomas handled the situation well I thought.

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  4. People love to talk don't they? Really enjoyed this all the way through. Oh- and I have been to Nowhere, OK (lived there actually) so he definitely made the right choice.

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  5. Talk about being between a rock and an immovable object. Tough call to make. Not sure which one I'd be choosing. Will be thinking about this one for a while.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  6. What a dilemma, and an enjoyable read. Well done.

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