A Mother Always KnowsbyMoogPlayer©
This story is total fiction and any actual places named are used strictly for settings in the story. I hope you enjoy it, and please don't forget to vote.
"I'm really going to miss you, Michael," she said, as she took me to the airport, "Please stay in touch, okay?"
"I'll really try," I replied, "But I can't make any promises."
Twelve and a Half Years Later...
"You need to come home now, son," my Dad informed me, over the phone, "I'm not sure how much time she has left." I knew he was talking about my Mom. She'd been diagnosed with brain cancer six years prior, and the time for God to call her home was almost at hand.
"I'll be there in the morning, Dad," I replied, feeling my heart beginning to break, "Tell her I'm coming home."
Hi, my name is Michael Fallon; a Grammy™ winning song-writer, living in Malibu, California. I'm six feet, two inches tall, weigh two hundred and fifteen pounds, and I have a full head of shoulder-length, dark brown hair and blue eyes. I'm almost fifty years old now and beginning to gray at the temples slightly, but I was almost thirty-one, and had already been married and divorced once, when what I'm about to tell you, happened.
I was born and raised in a little town in southeast Texas that you've probably never heard of called, West Columbia; and I'm the youngest of my parent's, Mark and Amanda Fallon's, three children. My sister Andrea "Andie" came first, then my brother, Ben, and then me. However, my Mom and my Dad didn't think they could have anymore kids, because Andie was twelve and Ben was ten years old when Mom became pregnant with me.
I wasn't spoiled, because my father made sure of that, well, not too spoiled anyway. But my mother always told me how special she thought I was from the time I could first talk, hence the reason she sat me behind a piano when I was five years old. My first teacher, who was a kind and gentle lady, saw promise in me, and soon after that, I had a new, more experienced and professional piano teacher.
His name was Johann Froeder, and he was from Austria. He was also a very strict and very exacting son-of-a-bitch, and I disliked him the moment I sat down next to him. He didn't believe in giving his students any sort of praise whatsoever, regardless of how well we'd done; and because of what a bastard he was to me, he eventually made me detest him. Still though, the loathing I felt for my teacher inadvertently fueled my drive to learn everything I could, and eventually, without my even realizing it, my skills had been honed to a razor sharp edge.
However, after studying under this prick for almost nine years, and I was fourteen at the time; I woke up one day and realized that I could now flawlessly play anything he put in front of me. And when the day came that I pointed this out to him, he sarcastically laughed and told me that I had simply memorized the music, and that I had neither the ability to sight read music, nor the skill to play it properly.
"I can play anything you put in front of me," I emphatically told him, "And you know it's the truth, too."
"Silence," he loudly hissed, "You are just an insolent and stupid child that still hasn't learned to stop talking when he should be listening."
"I'll tell you what," I replied indignantly, "I'll always listen when there's something worth listening to. All you know how to do is bitch and complain. You've never once given me or any of your other students, a single word of encouragement or praise for all the hard work you know we've all done, and I think you're a jerk."
"What's the matter, little boy," he viciously spat, "Did your mama take you off of her titty too soon, eh?"
"You can kiss my ass," I growled, "You fucking Nazi Bastard."
I knew that calling him that would set him off, because he flew into a screaming rage, cursing me and calling me all kinds of names. That was also the same day that I turned and walked out of his house, and after slamming the door behind me; I never had to deal with that son-of-a-bitch ever again.
When I told my parents what had happened as well as what I'd said, too, I never lied to them; Mom was heartbroken at first, as she'd always envisioned me playing the concert circuits, or perhaps conducting the symphony one day. But Dad clamed her down by reminding her that I could still get into any music university, anywhere I chose, which kept her off my ass. Man, my Dad most certainly rescued my ass from my Mom that day, God bless him....whew!
Everything changed for me musically when I entered high school, as this was also the time that electronic synthesizers came into being. Men like Dr. Robert Moog and the genius of his creations, changed not only the face of music, but also my decision on the type of music I wanted to play. Recording artists like Rick Wakeman, of "Yes", Keith Emerson, of "Emerson Lake & Palmer", and Ray Manzarek, of "The Doors", all brought out my desire to find the music within me I never even knew existed, and/or had yet to play.
I still thank God daily for the sacrifices my parents made back then to buy me the instruments played by the aforementioned artists. I was accepted to and attended, what was then, North Texas State University, right out of high school, leaving everyone and everything I knew behind me. For the next four years I studied and practiced, so as to become the very best keyboardist I could. Don't get me wrong, I still had a social life. Hell, I lost my virginity my junior year in high school, and had gained a vast knowledge of sex by the time I graduated college, and had no problems picking up girls. But that was all I did, simply pick them up and take them home for the night, nothing more, nothing less.
What it came down to was, my first true love was music, hence the reason I'd never had a serious relationship with a girl. I guess that's why my first marriage ended like it did. I was either on the road, or in the studio, recording all the time. I became so driven that my ex-wife, her name was Sally, simply left; and not because I was hardly ever home, but because she had been spoiled by her parents and expected me to do the same. I suspected that she was cheating on me as well. And of course my dumb ass didn't realize she was gone until a week later, and I was served with divorce papers a month after that. It ended up costing me almost everything I owned, but I bounced back fairly quickly with help from my family.
Still though, I kept my nose to the grind stone, remaining focused until I got my first 'cut' as a songwriter. (For those who don't know what a cut is, it's what it's called when a recording artist records one of a songwriter's compositions.) After the first one went number one that year, requests from different artists came pouring in; one of which earned me Grammy Award two years later. After that though, music somehow lost the luster that it once held for me. Yeah, I was successful and all, but I still felt like there was something missing, something that I just couldn't quite seem to put my finger on.
For a couple of years after that, I was still productive with my music, but my life away from work consisted of partying and having a different female in my bed every night. I was lost and what was worse; I was too blinded by my own stupidity to realize it. But then again; it was all part of how my life came to be where it is now and......Oopps I'm getting ahead of myself again.
My plane landed at Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas at ten o'clock the next morning, and as soon as I disembarked the aircraft into the terminal; I saw my sister, Andie, and her daughter, Leah, my oldest niece, smiling and waving their arms. I hadn't seen my family in over ten years, and as soon as I gazed into my big sis's eyes; all the old memories of the times she'd coddled me as a young boy came to mind, bringing tears of joy to my face.
Andie had long dark brown hair just like mine, and she had also inherited Mom's blue eyes like me. However, she stood at five feet, nine inches tall and weighed in the neighborhood of maybe one-hundred and twenty-five to one-hundred and thirty pounds. I had always known my sister was beautiful, but to see her face at this moment in my life immediately gave me a sort of inner peace, regardless of how short a time it lasted.
"Hi, baby brother," Andie gently spoke, as she tightly hugged me, "It's been a long time."
"It's been too long," I smiled, releasing her from the hug.
The last time I saw Leah she was eight, going on nine years old, and now she was twenty and every bit as beautiful as her mother. She squealed as she threw her arms around my neck, then kissed my cheek and said, "Hi, Uncle Mike. I missed you so much!"
After pulling her from around my neck, I held her at arms length, and teasing her, replied, "Who are you and what have you done with my baby-girl, Leah?"
"I grew up, Uncle Mike," she giggled, "You're silly, but I sure like your music. All of my friends went nuts when they heard you were coming."
"He's here because your grandmother is sick, young lady," Andie glared, a strong hint of anger, mixed with sadness in her voice, "Don't forget that.
"I know, Mom," Leah replied, smiling and gently taking her mother's hand, "But Meemaw is always telling her friends about how proud she is of her baby boy, who's an award winning songwriter."
"She does, doesn't she?" Andie giggled.
"She sure does," Leah teased, "She says that she's so proud of her little Mikey."
"Ah, jeez you two," I groaned, "Don't start that shit, we've got to get to the hospital."
"Chill out, Mikey," laughed Andie, smacking my butt as Leah giggled right behind her, "Or else I'll have to whip your ass like I did when you were little."
"You never spanked me, not even once," I mischievously grinned, "And you know it."
"It's not too late to start now," she laughed, kissing me on the cheek while tightly hugging me again, "We sure missed you, you little shit."
On the drive from the airport to the hospital, I asked Andie, "So, how is Mom?"
"She's not good, Michael," Andie replied, her eyes beginning to fill with tears, "I think she's waiting to see you before..."
"Hey now," I replied, gently patting Andie's shoulder, "Everything's going to happen like God wants it to happen, okay?"
"Hi son," Dad said, as soon as we were on the floor where Mom's room was, "How was your flight?"
"It was fine Dad," I replied, hugging him, "How's Mom?"
Come on," he solemnly replied, leading me into her room, "She's been waiting for you." Dad stands a couple inches shorter than me, weighs about a hundred and ninety pounds, and has brown eyes. But his eyes were red from not only his grief, but at seeing me, too, I think. He looked tired and just plain worn out, and sadly, I could tell that Mom's illness had definitely taken its toll on him, too, God love him.
When I walked into Mom's hospital room, I wouldn't have recognized her had it not been for her beautiful blue eyes that were now just barely open. My mother's once dark and long shiny brown hair was now gone, because of the chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and in its place was a short dark wig. My brother, Ben, who looks just like Dad, and my sweet sister-in-law, Dianna, were standing one the far side of her bed, and after hugging them both; I leaned down and kissed my mother on the cheek.
"Hi, Mama," I smiled, gently taking her hand in mine.
Hi baby," she replied, in a strained voice, "I sure have missed you, Mikey."
You rest now," I softly said, "I'll be here when you wake up and we can talk then."
Mom squeezed my hand; and with no strength left in her, she smiled and said, "When I close my eyes again, I'm not going to wake up this time, Baby. That's why I need you to promise me you'll do something for me."
"Sure Mom, I promise," I smiled, "You tell me what it is and I'll do anything you want me to."
Then, with a contented sigh, she looked at Dad and said, "You'll tell him, won't you honey?"
"You know I will," Dad replied, leaning down and kissing her lips, "I love you."
Mom finally succumbed to her disease later that night and passed away peacefully, with her family all around her. And while I was glad that I got to see her before she left this earth, there was now an empty place in my heart where my mother used to be. I hated the fact that she was gone forever, but I also realized that she wasn't suffering anymore and that God had called her home. But knowing Mom like we all did, she wouldn't have wanted us to be sad, mourning her death; instead she would've wanted us to celebrate her life. Dad and Ben went to take care of Mom's funeral arrangements after we left the hospital, while I rode with Andie and Leah, who drove me back to my boyhood home.
Dianna also rode with us as we headed home, and leaning forward from the back seat, she gently put her arms around me and said, "It's so good to see you, Michael; I only wish it were under better circumstances."
"Me too," I replied, a deluge of tears now pouring down my face, "I should've never left here."
"Don't you dare say that, Mike," Andie soothed, patting my knee, "You did the right thing, and you've made all of us very proud of you."
"That's right," added Dianna, "You should've heard all the things that Mom said about you."
"I know," I sadly replied, "But I shouldn't have stayed gone for so long."
As I walked into my boyhood home, the memories of the past, when Mom was still alive, began to assault my brain at a rapid pace. I expected to see her coming out of the kitchen, wearing her cooking apron, and her arms open wide to greet me at any moment. Sadly though, that was not the case, and without her, the house now seemed cold and empty.
However, when my late brother-in-law, Trevor, Andie's husband and Leah's father, was killed in an industrial explosion at his job, Mom had insisted that my sister and niece, who was only five months old at the time, come live with her and Dad. Of course Andie had no problem with that arrangement, because she would be able to seek Mom and Dad's counsel when it came to raising Leah; and she would also be able to save some money for when Leah went to college, as she was now doing. Besides all that; I think Mom and Dad just plain enjoyed having another baby in the house once again.
"I need to tell you something Uncle Mike," Leah uncomfortably said, as soon as we came into the house, "You were gone when Mom and I moved in here so, I took your old room. I hope that's okay."
I dropped my bags, and then before she could react, I put my arms around Leah's waist and picked her up, twirling her around, making her squeal and said, "You can have my old room baby-girl, I'll sleep in Uncle Ben's old room."
As I set her back down, she smiled then kissed me on the cheek and said, "You're the best, Uncle Mike, and I sure am glad you're home."
Two days later we had the funeral, and while it was very sad; we all knew that Mom's soul had finally found peace and it gave us comfort. Still though, it was hardest on Dad, but I stayed right by his side, hardly taking notice of anyone else there but him.
We had a private dinner at the house we grew up in after the service was over with. None of us really had any appetites to speak of, but knowing that we needed to eat, and also that if Mom were still alive, she'd have our asses if we didn't so, with that in mind, we all dug in.
As we sat down and began to eat, my brother Ben looked at me from across the table grinning and said, "So tell us, Rock Star, are you ever going to cut that long hair?"
"Oh, don't pay him any mind, Michael," giggled Dianna, as she rubbed the receding hair line on Ben's head, "Benny's just jealous that he can't grow his hair long anymore."
"You're damn right I am," snorted Ben, making us all laugh.
The next few days were rather hectic, what with having to make sure that the insurance policies, which at Mom's insistence were taken out on her, had all been activated and the monies set in place. I must say, my father snapped back to his old self again only a couple of days after Mom's funeral. Man, what a strong guy he was.
I had been home for two weeks now and one Friday afternoon, Dad approached me and said, "Do you remember the promise you made to your mother, Mikey?"
"Sure I do," I replied, having almost forgotten until Dad reminded me, "What is it that she wanted me to do?"
"They need someone to conduct the Spring Cantata that the city choir puts on every year," he sadly replied, "Your mother used to do it, but she......"
"I know Dad," I said, trying to keep him from breaking down, "I'll do it. Besides, I know that Mom's gonna be watching over me so I don't screw up."
"You're right about that," he grinned, "And she'll have your ass for breakfast if you do."
Dad and I began to laugh at the memories of all the times Mom, had chewed all of our asses at one time or another, for one thing or another throughout our lives. And to tell the truth, I'm a better person, hell, I'm a better man for not only being fortunate enough, but blessed to have the mother I did, even though she left us too soon. But God knows what he's doing and I figured that he needed her more than we did, whether I liked it or not....
The following night found me sitting in the church I went to as a boy. Mom never really forced her beliefs on any of us, but I tend to think she was right about a lot of things. So, that's why I went to Sunday school and Church with her on a number of occasions as a boy.
I was remembering back to that time long ago when I was just a kid, when all of a sudden, I heard, "Well, if it isn't little Mikey Fallon, back from Los Angeles," breaking me out of my reverie. I turned around to see the pastor's wife, Mrs. Sara Hanks, standing not three feet behind me, smiling with her arms outstretched.
"Hi, Ms. Sara," I smiled, "And I live in Malibu."
"Come over here and give me big hug," she giggled, "And I don't care where you live, mister smarty pants."
"It's good to see you, Ms. Sara," I smiled, remembering how kind she had always been to Mom and my entire family, "The reason that I'm here is because I never got the chance to thank you and Pastor James for all you did for my family."
"I'm really sorry about you mother, sweetie," Ms. Sara gently said, "Amanda was a good friend, and I loved her and will miss her very much. I just thought you should know that." The tears began to form in my eyes, but before they could fall; Ms. Sara smiled and said, "We're glad that you're going to be conducting the city choir this year. It's not everyday we get a Grammy winning musician here you know."
"Come on, Ms. Sara," I playfully groaned, "It's just me, Mike Fallon, and I grew up here like everyone else, okay?"
"Your mother always said that you were special, Michael," Ms. Sara sweetly replied, gently patting my face with the palm of her hand, "And I can see it in the man that you've become."
"I'll always love my Mom, Ms. Sara," I smiled, "But she said that about all of her children."
"Whatever you think, dear boy," she giggled, "Whatever you think."
You see, my Mom could direct a choir with no problems; she had a great deal of musical talent, which is how I came by it. However, that very next day as I looked at the whole score, I discovered the piece being performed was Rachmaninov's "The Bells, Spring Cantata". This wasn't just a choral score; it included an orchestral score as well. I had plenty of experience with choral direction during my college years, but I'd never conducted an orchestra before. Don't get me wrong, even though I had never conducted an orchestra didn't mean I didn't want to. I had just never been presented with the opportunity to do so. I suddenly found myself becoming excited about music once more, and lifting my eyes heavenward, I tearfully smiled and said, "Thank you, Mom. I love you." It was also then that I came to the realization that God truly did need my Mom in heaven....he needed her to be my personal guardian angel.