Rosemary Quotes in This Boy’s Life
Our car boiled over again just after my mother and I crossed the Continental Divide. While we were waiting for it to cool we heard, from somewhere above us, the bawling of an airhorn. The sound got louder and then a big truck came around the comer and shot past us into the next curve, its trailer shimmying wildly. We stared after it.
"Oh, Toby," my mother said, "he's lost his brakes."
The sound of the horn grew distant, then faded in the wind that sighed in the trees all around us.
By the time we got there, quite a few people were standing along the cliff where the truck went over. It had smashed through the guardrails and fallen hundreds of feet through empty space to the river below, where it lay on its back among the boulders. It looked pitifully small.
I was subject to fits of feeling myself unworthy, somehow deeply at fault. It didn't take much to bring this sensation to life, along with the certainty that everybody but my mother saw through me and did not like what they saw. There was no reason for me to have this feeling. I thought I'd left it back in Florida, together with my fear of fighting and my shyness with girls, but here it was, come to meet me.
I listened from the living room. My mother argued at first but Marian overwhelmed her. This time, by God, she was going to make my mother see the light. Marian didn't have all the goods on me, but she had enough to keep her going for a while and she put her heart into it, hitting every note she knew in the song of my malfeasance.
It went on and on. I reheated upstairs to the bedroom and waited for my mother, rehearsing answers to the charges Marian had made against me. But when my mother came into the room she said nothing. She sat for a while on the edge of her bed, rubbing her eyes; then, moving slowly, she undressed to her slip and went into the bathroom and drew herself a bath, and lay in the water for a long time as she sometimes did when she got chilled coming home at night in a cold rain.
I had my answers ready but there were no questions. After my mother finished her bath she lay down and read, then fixed us dinner and read some more. She turned in early. Answers kept coming to me in the dark, proofs of my blamelessness that I knew to be false but could not stop myself from devising.
Now I saw her only when Dwight agreed to drive me down with him. He usually had reasons for leaving me behind, the paper route or schoolwork or something I had done wrong that week. But he had to bring me sometimes, and then he never let me out of his sight. He stuck close by and acted jovial. He smiled at me and put his hand on my shoulder and made frequent reference to fun things we'd done together. And I played along. Watching myself with revulsion, aghast at my own falsity yet somehow helpless to stop it, I simpered back at him and laughed when he invited me to laugh and confirmed all his lying implications that we were pals and our life together a good one. Dwight did this whenever it suited his purpose, and I never let him down.
Whenever I was told to think about something, my mind became a desert. But this time I had no need of thought, because the answer was already there. I was my mother's son. I could not be anyone else's. When I was younger and having trouble learning to write, she sat me down at the kitchen table and covered my hand with hers and moved it through the alphabet for several nights running, and then through words and sentences until the motions assumed their own life, partly hers and partly mine. I could not, cannot, put pen to paper without having her with me. Nor swim, nor sing. I could imagine leaving her. I knew I would, someday. But to call someone else my mother was impossible.