Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1184045-The-Unlikely-Answer
by Muse
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Family · #1184045
What do you do?
         "As I refilled the bird feeder with seed this morning..." A pause, and the phone sort of crackled in my ear, "Hey, are you even listening to me, Leland?"
         "Yes, I'm listening." I lied.
         "Then what was I saying?" The nagging voice hammered my ears like the sound of nails screeching down a chalkboard would.
         "You were talking about poultry."
         "You weren't listening. Why should I call you every day if you're going to ignore me the whole time?" Here it goes again, I thought. "I'm not going to be around forever you know, Leland. I know that you're just waiting for that day to come, but until then, you're stuck with your dear old mother. So--"
         "Mom, stop. Don't give me this speech again like you always do. Has it ever occured to you that I just have a lot on my mind right now? Christ..."
         I could hear sobs emanating from the other line, and I knew what was coming. "Oh GOD. I'm a horrible mother. I can't even tell when there's something wrong with my baby. Oh I'm so sorry Leland, darling. What's wrong? Did that awful man threaten you at work again?"
         I rolled my eyes. "No...stop crying." A sigh of frustration escaped from me and I wanted to hang up...be anywhere and in any situation other than the one that I was in at that moment. "Shit, mom, just...talk about your bird feeder. What happened?"
         "You were listening! Oh..." she sniffled "I feel so much better now. Well, as I was saying, as I refilled the bird feeder with seed this morning, the most strange thing happened! It was miraculous to say the least, and I couldn't wait to tell you all about it." I could tell that she was excited by the way her words were becoming more and more-so breathless, and the way her smile was apparent in the way that she was speaking. "I saw and angel, Leland. God chose me to see an angel. It's a sign, baby, I know it. You're going to be okay. God will take care of it!"
         I frowned. I didn't want to tell her what the doctor had said, and I didn't want to tell her the truth about me. There was no GOD, there was no sign. There was no omen. "Mom..." I began to tell her, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to do it in such a way that she would understand. "you probably just saw the creek reflecting a ray of sunlight." I knew that she was disappointed that I didn't believe her, but it was the only way I could tell her without saying the whole truth.
         "Oh..yeah. You're...you're probably right, son." The silence after her statement was long, awkward and nerve-wrecking. I almost jumped when she spoke again. "I miss the days when you would go along with what I said. I miss my baby, Leland. Who are you?" Crying, she hung up on me, and I knew better than to call her back.

Later that day...

         "Did-did you talk to her?" Leland asked me as I lightly placed the phone down into its cradle.
         "So...?" His eyes looked expectantly at me and he weakly took my hand with his. I couldn't break his heart.
         "I told her everything," I lied. "She was heart-broken, but knows that your place is with God now. There's nothing more that she can do."
         "So...she really bought that you were me?"
         "Yeah..." I frowned, almost brought to tears by the thought of what I had done, and what I was doing. I was depriving a mother and her son of the last moments of their lives to-gether, but I was also giving so much more. I was giving a mother more years with her son than she could imagine, and a son the peace he needed to let go.
         "How-how'd she take it?"
         "I'll put it this way...if I get PTSD from having to deal with it, I'm suing." I grinned, however half-heartedly, at my love, my one-and-only.
         "What's that, Greg, some sort of STD?" He laughed. Always the kidder. That's Leland. Always the one with a grin. That's Leland. Always--weak, but unafraid..
         "Why don't we sit on the couch, eh? You look tired." I choked back the tears. It wouldn't be long, now.
         "Yeah..." For the next few hours, we held each other, reminiscing on the lives that we had lived together and apart. He told me about his mother, and I could tell that he loved her more than anything and anyone in the world. Then, at eleven forty-four p.m., Leland died.

Two weeks later...

         I picked up the phone, dialed the number, and let it ring. One ring...two rings...three..."Hello?"
         "Hey, mom?"
         "Leland? Is that you?"
         "Yes mom, it's me." I lied, but now it was more true than it would ever be. I finally had a mother, and she a son that would last her the rest of her life.
         "You sound so distant, my boy...so far away. I wish you would visit me, baby. I wish you would visit."
         "I will, mom. How does this weekend sound?"

After all, she was blind, and wouldn't be able to tell the difference, right?
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