Publication Date: August 31st, 2022
Publisher: M Schmidt Productions
Page Length: 76 Pages
Genre: Biographical History / Memoir
The saga of being her alibi started late in the evening one cold winter day in 1982. For three years, my mother never once came to visit the place where I lived with my first husband, who was abusive, but that’s for a different book.
My doorbell rang, and I ran to see who it was. I saw Mother’s face through the peephole.
“It’s a little late already. What’s up?” I inquired.
Mother smiled, which she seldom did. I was surprised to find her in such a good mood. I almost didn’t believe my eyes! My mother stopping by – but why? Something was up for sure.
“Can’t I visit my daughter?” Mother asked.
I nodded, but a cloud of doubt hung in my mind. I opened the door to allow her in, but I was still dumbfounded. Why would Mother visit me now?
After she was there for a while, the doubts left and we sat down and shared coffee and leftover bread from breakfast, the conversation flowing between us almost naturally.
It was one of those rare moments when Mother spoke to me, and I, the daughter who always craved her love, basked in what I believed was a reconciliation of sorts. Yet it was a devious plan on her part.
“Something’s bothering me,” Mother said.
I paused. Something’s always bothering you, I wanted to say. But feeling that the barrier was broken somehow by the evening’s conversation, I asked, “What’s bothering you?”
“Harold.” Mother stopped laughing. She was telling me a funny incident earlier, and when she shifted the topic to her husband, her facial expression immediately changed.
“What about him?” I questioned.
The wrinkles in the corners of her eyes deepened as she smirked. When she spoke, I thought I caught a hint of concern in her voice. I wasn’t sure though.
“Do you think people are really capable of suicide?” she asked.
I looked at her, surprised. “There’s news about suicides every day,” I said. In my head, I found it hard to understand them, though. Life was so wonderful. Why would anybody want to take his or her life if tomorrow holds a promise of something better that could come along? “Why? How’s Harold?”
Mother shook her head. Her expression brightened once again. “I think he wants to take his life.”
“That’s preposterous!” I burst out. I didn’t know if my outburst was because I couldn’t believe Harold would take his life, or because Mother didn’t show any compassion. She made life hell for him, but suicide?? Thus, I chose my words carefully as I had no idea where she was headed with this conversation. “Why? He doesn’t strike me as the type.”
Mother had been so hard on me that I found it hard to believe she would worry over someone so deeply. Besides, she seemed very buoyant that night.
“Do you know what his problem is?”
“I don’t know. But he seems really depressed.” Then she laughed loudly. “Enough about that; this time is for us.” She pointed her finger to herself and then to me. “Let’s forget about Harold and go back to other more meaningful discussions.”
I frowned, but for the first time, I felt a step closer to her, even though this situation didn’t feel right. I had to be careful with my words as I didn’t want her to punch or kick me, which hadn’t happened since I moved out of her home.
In my heart and soul, I knew I couldn’t build a bridge with my mother without love, so no fence mended. She was a total stranger to me, laughing and telling stupid jokes without a care in the world. Harold was forgotten when she finally left after four hours, and I locked my front door.
The next morning, I awoke to such horrible news. Mother had “found” Harold with a gunshot wound in his upper abdomen outside their house, and in the blue Ford truck.
My earlier trips to hospitals when I was young came back to me. The feeling of fear, of whether there would still be tomorrow, taunted me. My heart clenched thinking about poor Harold.
I was afraid of Mother, so I never had the courage to visit Harold in the hospital. My conversation with my mother came to mind, and I remembered her telling me that Harold was depressed.
Police officers came in to talk to Harold. They wanted to talk to him alone, but my mother rarely left his side, playing the devoted wife. When Harold was alone, he was silent, probably out of fear, and refused to talk with the police. Why didn’t the police pick up on that?
When asked where Mother was the night before finding Harold with a gunshot wound in his stomach, and sitting in the cold of night, inside a pickup truck outside their house. Well, my mother told all the police officers that she had been with me!!!
It was true, but it horrified me because I felt used. I was her alibi–she did use me. Now what do I do? My mother had me stuck tight, and she knew it! I hated being stuck!!!
Will Harold live? Will my mother be charged for this crime? Am I safe? Such a cold, devious, and evil Mother she was!
Mary L. Schmidt