Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Holiday · #980396
Tyler Masterson goes shopping with his mother
|Lincoln High, |
Author's Note: This is a short series about the Masterson family. Each part is written in the first person by a different member of the family as Christmas approaches. Gifts #1 is told by 14 year old, Tyler Masterson.
Do you know what it’s like to be emotionally and physically connected to someone? It’s wild to think – to know – that someone is “fine-tuned” into you. Someone physically feels your pain when you’re hurt, or your happiness when you’re happy. That’s the best way I know how to describe my connection to my twin, Taylor – Taylor Katrina Aceves Masterson. Sometimes I think it’s a gift our parents gave us. Without a doubt, my father and mother are emotionally and physically connected to each other.
My mother, Katrina Aceves is my father’s second wife. My father is Cameron Masterson. Mom grew up poor in New York City and worked hard to become an attorney. My father inherited his family’s newspaper, the Newport Gazette. They were twenty-eight when they met, and to listen to my Aunt Victoria, Dad’s sister, the sparks flew. They’ve been happily married for sixteen years.
While Taylor’s my twin sister, Hope is my older one. She’s only my half-sister. Her mother was my father’s first wife, Anne Powell. Hope’s an ace reporter for the Gazette, our Dad’s newspaper, and she throws a mean football too. Terri is my youngest sister. She’s eight and quite a handful. We all adore her and she knows it.
I have a brother too. His name is Trevor. It’s hard for me to figure out Trevor sometimes. He’s got hemophilia. He’s not a bad guy, just moody at times. Trevor can’t do the things I do – he can’t be athletic like I can. I play football in the fall and hockey in the winter and baseball in the spring. See, once Trevor starts bleeding, he can’t stop unless he’s given a special clotting factor.
I was sitting in my last class of the day, daydreaming. It was a Friday afternoon and Christmas would be upon us shortly. Today I had something very special planned. My mother and I were going to New York City because the watch I wanted to get my Dad for Christmas was there. We would be coming back on Sunday evening. I was looking forward to getting away and just hanging out with my Mom. I know that sounds corny but we don’t do a lot of things together so this meant a lot to me. My mom – well, I’m not as “close” to her as I’d like to be…I’m not as close as Trevor is to her – and that’s why for me, it was really exciting to think we’d actually get to spend some time together.
The bell rang and I bolted out of the classroom and headed toward my locker. Taylor had a locker next to mine as well and she was all ready there. Her “friend” Kristi Jones was with her.
Personally, I didn’t like Kristi and thought the only reason she hung out with Taylor was to hang out with me. Kristi’s on the cheerleading squad with Taylor. See, several girls have called me a ‘prize’ in my class – and it’s cool for the cheerleaders to hang out with the jocks, like me.
Kristi was white with blonde hair, blue eyes, and totally hung up on her looks. Her ignorant comments about minorities – Hispanics especially – would piss me off. See, I’m Hispanic, and Taylor is too for that matter, I just don’t look like it. Taylor looks more Hispanic than I do. I’m very proud of my ethnicity. Spanish is the only class I get straight “A’s” in. I’m practically fluent in that language and while I have my mother’s deep, brown eyes and her brown hair, my facial features take after my father who is a white guy. And Taylor, my twin, looks a lot more like our mother only she’s got our father’s hazel eyes. It’s an alluring combination on her. I walked up to Taylor and Kristi and did the combo on my locker.
“Hi, Ty,” said Taylor.
“Hi, Tyler,” said Kristi.
“Hi,” I muttered.
“What are you doing this weekend, Tyler?” asked Kristi, clinging to her books.
“I’m going to be out of town,” I answered, throwing my books in my locker.
“Taylor! You didn’t tell me!” pouted Kristi.
Taylor looked at me a bit surprised, “Ty, I didn’t know you took Mom up on her offer.”
“Waitasec – you’re hangout with your MOTHER this weekend?” questioned Kristi.
I turned to look at her, “Yeah. What’s wrong with that? My Mom is pretty cool.”
“Oh. Yeah,” said Kristi, trying to sound cool, “So, ah, when are you coming back?”
“Sunday,” I said, turning to lock my locker.
“You guys will have fun in New York. I’m glad you decided to go,” said Taylor smiling, “I have a feeling Mom is too.”
“Sooooo, what are you doing in New York anyway with your Mom?” asked Kristi.
“If you must know, I’m buying my father a Christmas gift,” I said.
We turned around and started walking out of the building. Mom was going to meet me in front of the Edwards Building.
“Tyler, aren’t you too old to be hanging out with your parents?” asked Kristi, as we walked outside.
“My parents maybe not be perfect but I think they’re cool…for parents…” I said abruptly. God! Won’t this annoying flea leave me alone? How can Taylor stand her?
“See ya later Taylor,” said Kristi walking off.
“Why do you hang around her Tail? She’s just using you to get to me…” I said. We noticed my mother waiting for us. She was dressed in a casual winter jacket, leaning up against her Ford Mustang, talking to Trevor. Trevor was sixteen.
Taylor looked me in the eyes, “Yeah – I know. all of us cheerleaders are expected to hang out together…”
“Whatever,” I said, “I don’t hang out with the hockey team just because it’s expected of me.”
“Whatever,” said my sister, sarcastically.
We looked at each other and laughed.
Mom and Trevor waved to us. We walked up to them. Mom and Taylor exchanged a warm hug. Mom knew better with me. I didn’t hug anyone – in public.
“Ready Mijo? I’ve got your bag in the backseat,” said Mom, grinning.
“Sure,” I said, returning her smile.
“Remember – Mom – if you see “IT” pick it up for me…” added Trevor. He sincerely smiled and reached out for her. I could tell it just warmed her heart to have him hug her.
“I will,” she confirmed.
I grabbed Taylor while they hugged and took her aside quickly, “Watch out for Trev for me…” I whispered.
“Ty, Trev’s a big boy…” whispered Taylor.
“Who can bleed to death if he slips and falls on the ice. God, just promise me…” I insisted.
“I promise,” said Taylor, realizing this request meant a lot to me.
I smiled at her.
“Have a good time, Ty,” said Trevor crossing his arms and grinning at me as Taylor and I joined them again.
“You too, Trev…” I said, getting into the car.
Mom got into the car, we waved at them, and she drove off.
“The jet is all fueled up and ready to go….” said my Mom, pulling out of the parking lot.
“Cool…” I said. The privileges of having millionaires for parents. We were taking the private jet to NYC.
“How was school today, Mijo?” asked my Mom, stopping for a red light.
“I got an “A” on the Spanish test,” I said proudly.
“I knew you would. Now, how about that English quiz?” she asked.
I frowned. English was my worse subject. Who cares about Shakespeare? Who could understand him anyway?
“Ah, I got a “C,” I answered, looking out the window.
“I guess it could have been worse, huh?” said Mom, driving off.
“Mom! C’Mon!” I protested.
Her cell phone rang.
“Can you get that Mijo?” she asked, taking a corner.
“Sure,” I said.
Her cell phone was on the dash. I reached up and answered it.
“What?” I said.
My Mom just rolled her eyes and smiled.
“Oh, Dad. Yeah.”
“Ah…I want you to have a good time in New York, Ty…”
“Yeah, okay, Dad…”
“And look out for your Mom okay…Be safe…I want you to both come home…you know…safe…”
“We will Dad,”
“So, ah, is your mom there? Can I talk to her?”
“Yeah, Mom’s right here…”
I gave the phone to my Mom.
Pause. My mom grinned.
“Tyler and I will be fine, Cam. Trust us…”
“Me too. Te amo, Querido…”
She hung up the phone and we pulled into the airport parking lot. We got out, grabbed our overnight bags, and went to the private plane section. As we walked through the hanger, onto the tarmac, Elvis, the pilot, greeted us.
“Hello, Mrs. Masterson. If we leave now, we’ll get into LaGuardia five minutes early…” said Elvis, looking at his watch.
“Well, let’s go…” said Mom.
Elvis escorted us into the plane and we got settled in for the ride.
The flight to LaGuardia went well and when we arrived a limo was waiting for us to take us to our downtown Manhattan hotel courtesy of Dad. I couldn’t help but notice how awkward my Mom felt in the limo. Almost as if she didn’t deserve it.
“So, Mom, are you going to show me your old haunts here in the city?” I asked lightly. I knew my Mom grew up in New York but that’s about it. Oh – and she went to Law School at NYU.
“Ah, no…” she said, stretching out her legs.
“Why not?” I asked, “You don’t talk much about how you grew up.”
“Tyler, I didn’t have an especially happy childhood, you know that…” she added.
“Mom, I know we talked about that, so I know it wasn’t easy for you, or Dad. I know that you worked hard to give us a happy home,” I said, trying to reach out to her, “You’re not hiding anything are you?”
My mom looked sad, “No Tyler – Your father and I have been brutally honest with you concerning our pasts. The only thing I’m hiding from you…is the pain I suffer from when I remember my childhood,” she bravely admitted.
“Oh,” was all I could think to say. It’s hard to believe she was so unhappy growing up when she had given us such a happy home.
The limo pulled up to the hotel and we got out. Mom and I grabbed our overnight bags and we went to check in. We walked up to the check-in desk.
“Hi. I’m Katrina Masterson. Do you have my suite available?” she asked.
“Just a minute,” said the attendant.
I fidgeted, not having much patience for this.
“Katrina Aceves!” came a cry.
Mom and I turned around. An older Hispanic man walked up to us. He was dressed in a business suit and had a briefcase.
“Diego Lopez!” she replied.
I raised an eyebrow. This was not cool.
“You look as lovely as ever. What brings you here? And who’s your…ah…nephew?” he asked arrogantly.
“Nephew?” I exclaimed, crossing my arms, glaring at him.
My mother laughed, “Diego, this is my son, Tyler. I’m married now. Masterson is my married name.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” replied the creep. He was leering at my mother. Undressing her with his eyes…
“How do you know this guy, Mom?” I asked, holding back my anger.
“I went to Law School with Diego,” Mom explained, “And we got accepted by the same firm upon graduation.”
“Your young son is very protective of you. Are you here for the reunion at NYU?” the Creepoid asked.
“Ah, no, I’m not. Tyler and I are here…to do some shopping…” explained my Mom.
That must have sounded weird. I’m glad we weren’t back in Newport. Whoever heard of a GUY shopping – with his mother no less. This leering freakoid must think I’m a wuss. Well, first chance I get…
“We should have dinner while you’re in town,” said Freakoid.
“Leave a message for me at the desk and I’ll get back to you,” said my mom politely.
“Mrs. Masterson, your key…” said the attendant.
Mom took the key and we walked off into the elevator leaving Nastyman in the lobby.
As soon as the doors shut I spoke up, “Mom! That guy was leering at you! And you’re going to have dinner with him? What about Dad?”
“Tyler, relax. I’m not stupid. I know exactly how Diego was looking at me. You did happen to notice I didn’t tell him our room number. And If he leaves a message I can leave him another one for him – turning him down. I was just being polite,” explained my mother.
“Oh,” I said, wrinkling my brow. Dad was right. Chicks are hard to figure out.
“God, you are so much like your father…” said my mother lightly.
We got to our room and settled in. Mom and I had dinner at a nice restaurant and caught a show on Broadway. I was totally enthralled by everything - the restaurant, the show, Times Square, the pace of the city. I enjoyed it all and I especially liked spending time with her. It made me feel good, special in a way, and a part of me knew that Taylor could feel it too.
Our suite consisted of two bedrooms. One for me and one for her. She walked into her bedroom in her bathrobe running a towel through her hair, fresh out of the shower.
“Eek!” she yelled, pushing the towel back and looking at me. I was just sitting on her bed. She said ‘Eek!’ like I was…I dunno…a rat or something.
“Tyler! What?” she asked, sounding surprised. Heck, Terri went into her room all the time…
I sat on the bed dressed in blue jeans and a white t-shirt, “Hey Mom,” I grinned, “Today is jeans ad t-shirt day…” I pointed to a pair of jeans and t-shirt I put on her bed.
“Oh,” she said, “Are you sure you want to go the store wearing jeans and a t-shirt?” she asked, holding the towel in her hands, revealing her wet head.
“Yeah, why not?” I asked, “And I want to ride the subway too.”
“The subway? What’s up, Tyler? Why do you want to go slumming?” asked my mother, staring at her white t-shirt. It was rather huge for her.
“Mom. I just want to experience something different. Limos and private jets – whatever. What’s it like to ride a subway? Walk down busy city streets? What’s it like to blend in and be anonymous? What’s it like not to be one of most popular guys in school?” I asked, passionately.
My mom smiled at me, “All right. It’s jeans, t-shirt, and subway day. Now scoot so I can change…go hang out in your own room!”
I returned her smile and went into my room to give her privacy. Within minutes, my mom came into my room dressed in her jeans and her baggy white t-shirt. Her long brown hair was back in a ponytail and she looked years younger. Not that my mom looked old – but she did have a few grays in her hair.
I grinned and held up a subway map, “So Mom, show me the way. I’m sure you took the subway when you lived here.”
“Yeah – I did Mijo…” she said, sitting down next to me. She pointed the way we were going to take.
I stood up and held out my hand. We put on our winter jackets and we left the hotel.
The subway was so full of people. It was hot and bit crowded, but it was alive! So alive! The best part came when my mom, sitting down in a seat, and me, standing over her was approached by a stranger who asked in Spanish if he could ask my sister out on a date. I laughed in his face.
Finally we got to our stop, and got out. We went into the store, found the men’s department, and thankfully, the watch I wanted for my dad was still there. I had discovered this store about a month ago when my father and I had come to the city. I had joined Dad on a business trip. We didn’t do any of the fun things I had done with my mother since it was all business for my father. I just hung around him like a lump on a log.
My mom and I waited…and waited…and waited a bit longer. I could tell my mother was getting upset and I didn’t know why were kept waiting so long. When I was here with Dad we got prompt service.
“Excuse me,” said my mom loudly, getting the salesgirl’s attention.
“Yes?” asked the salesgirl, crossing her arms.
“Could we get some service?” asked Mother, as if she was annoyed.
“Are you sure there’s something in here you can afford?” asked the salesgirl sarcastically.
My eyes grew wide – appalled at the salesgirl.
“Oh, what? We can’t afford your merchandise because we’re dressed in jeans and a t-shirt or because we’re Hispanic?” shot back my mother, just as sarcastically.
“We usually don’t get clientele like you,” said the salesgirl.
“Let me see your manger,” insisted my mother.
I didn’t like this – feeling discriminated against. It sucked.
“Now.” added my mother, fire in her voice.
A few seconds later a man dressed in a suit walked over.
“Can I help you?” he asked, his tone of voice was rude.
My mother pulled out her ABA Membership card and flashed it at him, “My name is Katrina Masterson and this is my son, Tyler,” started my mom.
A look of recognition crossed his face, “The famous attorney? You were on the Brewer case?” he choked.
“Oh. So you’ve heard of me, and my accomplishments?” asked my mother, unable to hide the dripping sarcasm from her voice.
“My sales representative wasn’t aware…” started the manager.
“Of what? My identity? Your sales representative is prejudiced - against jeans and t-shirts…or minorities, perhaps?”
“She will be talked to…” said the manager, “How can I help you?”
“My son is interested in a certain watch…” started my mother.
“No!” I said firmly.
My mother and the manager looked at me.
I swallowed, “Dad would love this watch. He would. But I’ll find another watch he’ll like. I don’t want to buy this watch. Not here. And not from you…” I said firmly.
“Tyler, are you sure?” asked my mother.
“I’ve never been discriminated against in my whole life – until now. And you know what? It sucks!” I said angrily, directing my words to the salesgirl and manager.
The manager swallowed. He screwed up and he knew it.
“Can’t we report this mom?” I asked, incensed.
“I’m sure there’s a better business bureau around here…” added my mother, crossing her arms.
“Let’s go…” I said. We walked out and as soon as we got out onto the street I found a garbage can and kicked it.
“Tyler!” exclaimed my mother.
“I’m pissed, Mom!” I exclaimed.
She grabbed my arm, “So am I, but kicking that damn garbage can isn’t going to make it better. This is life, Tyler. This is what you wanted to see. This is what it’s like when you’re not the most popular guy in school. Life is full of discrimination, one way or another, and it does suck. I am sorry, I never wanted you to feel it’s hurt or it’s pain…”
“Maybe…I’m doomed to it…” I said, dramatically.
“Maybe you’re not!” spat my mother, “Not my son!”
My face immediately softened, “I’m sorry. I am. I’m sorry…” What was I thinking? I was overacting!
“Tyler, I had to deal with this all my life,” she muttered.
Right there on the busy public New York street I grabbed her and gave her the biggest hug I could, proud of the fact she was my mom – knowing that her love was the best gift I could have ever gotten for Christmas.
“Te quiero…” I whispered.
“Te quiero…” she whispered back.
Here's a link to the following "chapter":