The Dynamic

“What did I do, Mom? Just tell me! If I didn’t do anything, why are you acting like this?”

Mom looked up from the table. “Acting like what?”

I closed my eyes for a moment and failed at regaining my composure. “Nothing, Mom. It’s just that I thought all of this shit would stop once I got a mortgage of my own. I thought our family would sort of just grow out of this thing we’ve got going. I can’t fix a problem if I don’t know what it is.”

She glanced sideways, as though considering the consequences of speaking honestly. Her breaths drew more slowly. “I thought you were going to stop dating that Jewish girl.”

The room inflated and deflated synchronously, and I found myself chuckling at the impossibility of settling our differences.