“I think I’m going to run away,” I said to my friend Betty, the following week at school.
“What’s your Mom been up to now?”
Betty though, like everybody else, thought my Mom was terrific.
“I think her only purpose in life is to humiliate me,” I moaned. “She started painting the house bright orange yesterday.”
“Well, some people like the colour orange,” Betty tried her best to console me.
“It’s to match the brand new orange car Sizwe bought her as a wedding gift.”
“Your step-dad bought your mother a new car!” There was awe in Betty’s voice.
“This weekend Mom wants me to drive to the village with her to see Gogo. She wants to show off her new car.”
“That should be fun − showing up in the village in a bright orange car. The villagers will talk about it for months.”
“That’s the point. Mom loves all the attention. She doesn’t care what people think of her weird ways. She’s even gone and bought herself an orange hat with a feather in it, plus an orange dress and heels to match.”
“You’ve got to be kidding!” Betty looked at me and began to laugh. Suddenly we were both rolling on the ground, laughing our heads off.
“Well you’ve got to give it to your Mom. Life with her is never boring.” This set us off again.
It was only later I realised I hadn’t laughed like that in a long, long time. It felt good.
* * * * *
To make the car-and-village-visit matter worse, if that was at all possible, Saturday dawned bright and sunny. I was hoping it would be a cold, wet and miserable day to match my dark mood.
“Hurry up, Masego,” Mom said briskly, coming into the kitchen where I had my head bent over a bowl of cereal. “Don’t slouch over your breakfast like that. You’ve got to stand up straight. Show the world you’re something!”
I looked over at her as if she had gone mad. She was dressed up in all her finery. I looked down at my old pair of jeans and trainers. I felt very comfortable in them.
As we got into the car one of the neighbours shouted over: “You look lovely Mildred! Off to see somebody special?”
Mom just smiled and waved her hand like she was some queen.
It took us just over an hour to reach the village. Mom took it upon herself to hoot and wave at everyone we passed as we drove into the village. I slouched further and further down in my seat, hoping nobody would notice me.
By the time we reached Gogo’s house, a crowd of curious onlookers had already gathered. Mom stepped out of the car, smiling and greeting everybody.
She spent almost the entire day taking one old villager after another on some errand that needed to be done. She never seemed to tire of the endless good works she performed.
She had struck it lucky with Sizwe, so Mom believed in sharing her good fortune.
Gogo came into the kitchen. I was sitting slouched as usual at the kitchen table. I also had a long, miserable face on me. Well that’s what my Mom called it anyway.
“You know what they say,” Gogo said, sitting down opposite me.
“What do ‘they’ say, Gogo?”
“If the wind blows in your direction, you’ll stay looking the way you are now. Surely you don’t want to go through life with a permanent scowl on that pretty face of yours?”
Tell us what you think: Should Masego just accept her Mom for who she is?