Dogged Ma: Chapter Seven, Part One
“Mom, I’m telling you the truth. I was never engaged to Ned.” It was Wednesday afternoon, and I had just arrived home from work. My mother must have a sixth sense about these sort of things because she always managed to call me the minute I walked in the door. Of course, she refused to call me on my cell phone because she didn’t want to distract me from driving. Besides, she didn’t trust that my cell wouldn’t give me brain cancer. As a result, I had to rush to get the phone the minute I entered my place. As usual, I ended up wishing I had let the machine get it as my mother was venting her spleen about my supposed broken engagement.
“Mom, would I lie to you? I mean, out and out lie?” I infused my voice with as much indignation as I could muster, but it didn’t slow down that train. She berated me at the top of her lungs for making her the shame of the entire Taiwanese community. She told me she couldn’t even go to church on Sunday without everybody talking about her. She knew they were talking about her because they would suddenly hush up whenever she was around. And poor Pastor Wu! Did I even think about what I’d put him through? I had no idea what my supposed engagement had to do with her pastor, but I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. It turned out that the ‘close friends’ of Mr. and Mrs. Chang couldn’t wait to spread the word about how abominably I’d acted Saturday night. When they found out I broke off the engagement, well, they had a field day with that bit of information.
“Mom, I never was engaged to Ned,” I interrupted, feeling more frustrated by the minute. If I told her the truth, I’d have to suffer through a diatribe about ‘homosexuals’, but I didn’t know if it’d be any worse than the tongue-lashing which I was currently receiving. “It was a misunderstanding from the very start. Believe you me, you’d be the very first person I’d tell if I ever did something as stupid as get engaged again.” That made her switch tracks to how I would never keep myself a man with my negative attitude. I was tempted to tell her about Ted, but I knew that’d be the kiss of death as far as any hopes of having a normal relationship with Ted was concerned. Maybe I could mention that plenty of otherworldly beings seemed to want me. No, that might give her a heart attack. Just as I was about to make another snarky comment, my buzzer rang.
“Mom, someone’s at the door. I have to buzz them up.” It didn’t matter that I had no idea who was downstairs; I would rather face a burglar than my mother when she went into full wrath mode. God could take a few lessons from her. More squawking from the phone, and my buzzer rang again. “I gotta go. I’ll call you back.” I hung up the phone and pressed my intercom lever. “Hello?” I wasn’t totally stupid. I’d ascertain who it was before doing anything as rash as letting him/her up. Now that I was off the phone, it didn’t really matter who was on the other side.
“Hello? Sorry to bother, but I’m afraid I’ve been given a wrong address.” The voice was definitely masculine, but it was diffident in tone. British in pronunciation, and there was something very familiar about the voice. Something about the way he pronounced ‘address’. Suddenly, it hit me.
“You’re Alan Rickman.” Instantly, my stomach went aflutter. Alan Rickman was downstairs, talking to me. I was glad I hadn’t changed out of my black skirt and blouse. I scolded myself for thinking of such trivial thoughts when I had Alan Rickman on the other end of the intercom.
“Yes, I am. If you could just give me directions to the Guthrie, I’d be ever so grateful.”
“Hold on. I’ll be right down.” I let go of the lever and grabbed my purse before flying out the door. I could hear the phone ringing as I locked my door, but I ignored it. I knew it would be my mother, and I had much more important things with which to deal. When I reached the ground floor of my apartment, I saw Alan Rickman waiting patiently outside the door. He was wearing black slacks and a white button-down, looking damn good.
“Hi, I’m Margaret Wang.” I stuck out my hand, and he shook it with alacrity. “You’re Alan Rickman.” I was aware that I sounded like an idiot, but it wasn’t every day that I got to meet Alan Rickman in the flesh. Speaking of the flesh, he looked much better in person than on camera, if that were even possible.
“Yes, I am,” Alan said, smiling affably. “Look, I hate to be a bother, but I’ve got an appointment with the director of the Guthrie in—” He checked his watch. “Twenty minutes. I would hate to be late. The worst thing is that my driver took off before I could figure out where I was. It must be a conspiracy to make me late for my meeting.”
“I can take you there if you’d like,” I said, holding my breath. “It’s not very far.”
“That would be fantastic,” Alan said, looking relieved. “I can’t figure out for the life of me how my agent screwed things up so badly. Wait until I get a hold of her.” He was smiling as he spoke, his demeanor belying his words.