I wake up late the next morning feeling groggy instead of rested. I had tossed and turned all night, only falling asleep close to morning. I guess yelling at my mother like that really took a toll on me. My mother and I hardly ever argue and when we do, it’s normally over serious issues. Not something so stupid, like her showing concern for me. I had really overacted.
Sighing, I roll out of bed and head into the bathroom to take a shower. The warm water feels amazing on my skin. I almost want to stay in there forever.
After showering, I get dressed and then go downstairs to the kitchen. My mother has just finished cooking and sets a steaming hot plate of mushroom omelets on the counter. The smell is delicious.
I take a deep breath and walk over. “Looks really good,” I say to her.
My mom smiles. “Thank you. I try.”
“And you do wonderfully. Really.” We both smile at each other.
We both then each grab a plate and walk over to the dining room table. I feel my phone start to vibrate and check the ID. It’s Abby calling. I turn it off and decide to let it go to voicemail. I can call her back later.
I then take my seat at the table next to my mom and start to eat. She has definitely out done herself.
My mother smiles at me. “Did you sleep well?”
I shake my head. “Not really. I guess I had a lot on my mind.”
The room then becomes quiet and we eat in silence. The only sound that can be heard, is the clicking of the clock on the wall.
“So,” my mother sits up in her chair, “how do you think you did this quarter?”
I grin. “4.0 and vice president’s list.”
My mom claps. “That’s my girl. I’m so proud.”
We eat in silence for a couple more minutes before my mother finally takes a deep breath. “Lizzie, about yesterday…”
I sigh. “Look, I’m sorry I yelled at you. I didn’t mean those things I said.”
My mother smiles and takes another bite of her eggs. “I know honey, and I wasn’t trying to upset you either. It’s just that I can tell something is going on with you and Michael and I just want you to talk to me about it.”
I look away from her. “It’s nothing mom, I-I just…” I sigh again and then rise from the table. “It’s fine.”
I place my plate in the dishwasher and then walk into the family room. The fireplace has been lit and I can feel the warmth from the orange-yellow tinted flames filling up the room. Walking over, I then place my hands out in front of me and enjoy the warmth. It has a strange calming effect.
I hear plates clinking behind me and know that my mom is putting the dishes away. I close my eyes and bath in the warmth from the fire. Maybe she would finally let it go.
“Lizzie, come sit.”
I look behind me a moment later and see my mother seated on the couch. As much as I would like to decline and head up to my room, I still feel guilty about my yelling at her last night.
“Please Lizzie,” she says again, and with another sigh, I walk over and take a seat.
We both sit on the couch in silence, just staring across the room. I can hear the seconds ticking away on the kitchen clock. Still, I focus my gaze on the burning flames and let my mind wonder. I had not heard from Michael. He had said that he would call me, but he hadn’t. A whole day had past and another was about to, and I had not heard from him. Could he be upset with me? About what he had said to me back at campus, and how I hadn’t answered back?
I blink and look over at my mother. “What?”
“I have been trying to talk to you and you aren’t responding.” She shakes her head. “See, this is why I know something is wrong. What is going on? Did you and Michael have a fight or something?”
“No, of course not.”
“Well, you sure are acting like it. I know this has to do with him, since every time I bring him up, you start acting weird. Just tell me what it is.”
I exhale deeply. “Okay fine. He said he loved me. Okay? Happy?”
My mother looks at me wide eyed. “He did?”
“Well, that’s wonderful! Isn’t it?”
“Yes. It is.”
My mom looks at me curiously. “Then why don’t you look happier?”
I shrug. “I don’t know mom. I really don’t.”
“Do you not feel the same way?”
I look at her shocked. “What? No! That’s not it!”
“So you’re in love with him?”
“Well, I…I…” I drift off not knowing what to say. It was the same question I had been asking myself after he said it to me.
My mother smiles at me. “You’re afraid to say it, aren’t you?”
She has me there. I fall completely silent.
“That’s it,” she says, “You’re afraid to say it back to him.”
I shake my head. “Mom, that doesn’t even make sense. Why would I be afraid to tell Michael that I love him?”
“Maybe because of what happened with Kendal.”
That catches me off guard. I don’t think I have thought about Kendal in quite some time.
My mom continues. “Maybe you’re afraid that things between you and Michael will turn out the way they did with Kendal. But I don’t think you should be worried about that. From the things you’ve told me, Michael doesn’t strike me as that kind of guy. He has been a good friend to you since you started college last year. Even with your falling out with Abby, and that disgusting video her sorority posted of you floating around campus, he was there for you. Unlike Kendal who left when he saw trouble.”
I nod. “That is true.”
“So, I don’t think you should be afraid to tell him that you love him.”
I raise my hands in exasperation. “I know you’re right. You’re right! But I just can’t shake this fear that things won’t work out between us for whatever reason, and then all this; us getting to know each other and meeting each other’s families and everything, will have all been for nothing.”
My mom smiles. “Honey, it’s natural to be scared of something like that. Almost everyone is. But you can’t let that fear rule your life. Falling in love is always a gamble. Yes, things could turn out badly, but they can also turn out wonderful. Either way, you will miss out on something special if don’t put yourself out there.” She leans closer. “Lizzie, if you really love Michael like I think you do, you need to tell him. Because if you don’t, I know you’re going to regret it.”
I look at her hard for a minute and then look away. I know she is right. It was probably the reason I couldn’t seem to get Michael off my mind. When he told me that he loved me, I had wanted so badly to say it back, but I was just too afraid. Now I felt bent out of shape, most likely because of it.
“Do you think it’s too late for me to invite him over?”
My mother shakes her head. “No, I don’t think it’s too late. In fact, I think you should invite him to the Christmas Potluck.”
My eyes widen. “Mom! The whole family will be there. I don’t want to scare him off.”
My mom laughs. “You won’t. Besides, if he’s going to be with you for the long hill, he will need to meet us sometime.”
I smile and laugh as well. I want to point out that we didn’t know that, but at the same time, I think maybe my mom can foresee something I don’t, yet.
We both rise to our feet and I pull her in for a hug. “Thank you mom,” I say giving her a squeeze.
“You’re welcome, sweetheart,” she whispers. “And I am always here if you need to talk.”
“I know, and thanks.”
My phone then starts to vibrate, so I pull away from my mom and look at it. It’s Abby again. She has texted me to say that she and her mom are heading into town to do some Christmas shopping and she wanted to know if my mom and I would like to come along.
I turn to my mom. “Lizzie and Mrs. Clawson want us to go Christmas shopping with them. What do you say?”
My mom shrugs. “Sounds nice. I haven’t finished my shopping so, I would like that.”
I text Abby back, “Yes,” and then follow my mom to the front door.
My mom stops me. “You know, you should call him before we go. If you don’t, you are going to be thinking about it for the rest of today.”
Nodding to my mom, I hurry up the stairs to my room. I then pull out my phone and dial Michael’s number. It rings several times before going to voicemail.
“Hey Michael, it’s me Lizzie. I-I wanted to talk to you and apologize for that night. You said you love me, and I just-I just stood there. I want you to know that it wasn’t because I don’t feel the same way. I was just…scared. I know that doesn’t make sense, but with everything that happened with Kendal, I have still been a bit unsure about myself.” I pause for a moment and then sigh. “Look, I don’t want to do this over the phone. I really would like to talk to you in person. Which is also my fault. I should have asked you to come home with me. I don’t know why I didn’t. It must have been fear of that too.” I break off realizing I am probably starting to not make sense. “Look, I want to invite you to my mom’s annual Christmas potluck. You are a really important part of my life now, and I want everyone to meet you. If there is a way you can come, I would be really happy to see you. Bye.”
I then hang up the phone quick before I can say anything worse. My mom was wrong. Now instead of just feeling regret at not talking to him, I was feeling eager to hear back from him. I take a deep breath. “He will call you,” I tell myself. “Just relax and wait.” I then slip my phone into my pocket and head down the stairs to the front door.