8 - Marianne

“No, it’s not your fault, I mean-”

“No, I messed up, mom. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do it. I was too drunk, and I- I did that...” Jack explained. His facial expression conveyed an overwhelming sense of guilt, embarrassment, and more... Something about it didn’t sit right with me for some reason.

I shook off the strange feeling and focused my attention squarely on him, “It’s okay. I was just worried about you. On the other hand, I really hope you will tell me about it next time.”

Jack’s eyes which were filled with guilt, stilled like ice “Tell you what? What do you mean?”

I shrugged, “That you’re going to your girlfriend. I–I'm your mom, Aki. I will feel anxious if you don’t tell me anything and suddenly disappear like that... But I hope you and Crista had a good time last night,” I said, not forgetting to add the last sentence. I had to do it because if I didn’t, it wouldn’t sound like it was coming from a real mother. And right now, I AM Jack’s mother, aren’t I?

I looked over at Jack and saw that he was frowning, but after a moment, he turned his back on me and silently excused himself and headed straight to the restroom.

Jack remained silent the entire time we traveled back home to our city. I would toss out a random question every once in a while, to which he would give an answer. But more and more, it became too obvious that he was not in the mood to engage in any interaction or conversation. Or, more precisely, he does not wish to talk to me.

And at this point, it has been close to two weeks since we returned to our house. Jack was able to secure a job in an automobile company almost immediately and is now in the process of completing his training.

I was happy for him, but lately, he had been coming home late, which was very unusual for him. It seemed as though he was trying to avoid me and was making a conscious effort to avoid having any kind of conversation with me.

When I make an effort to talk to him, the only response I get from him is that he is too preoccupied with his work to talk to me right now and that we could just talk next time. That ‘next time’ has been mentioned about ten times by now.

Until one day...

“Aki,” I called him as I watched him walking to the door, about to leave for work.

He faced me and waited for me to continue.

I took a few deep breaths before I looked at him and asked, “Do you want to live alone?”

I was unaware that I was only making the situation even worse by what I said. Because the response from my son came in an instant. And his tone expressed his anger all the way through.

“Is that really what you really want? For me to disappear from your life?”

What my son had just said left me shivering in shock and seemingly having my heartbeat sank. “Huh? W-What are you saying...” I only wanted to give him space, as I have observed and been trying to sum up based on his behavior. He wanted space. Or was I wrong with my conclusion?

“Fine. If that’s what you want, I’ll follow your word and leave. I’ll do it.“ He let out a helpless and angered laugh like a child as he stormed out of the apartment without looking at me again or waiting to hear what I had to say next.

I stood there, frozen at my feet. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Why is he acting like this? Where is the child I have raised with politeness and warmth in his eyes? Where did that child go? Jack... This is the first time he has spoken like this to me. It’s the first time he has raised his voice to me.

Later at work, I was still so shocked, confused, and disheartened that I was unable to concentrate despite my best efforts. That’s why, as soon as I finished, I immediately called my best friend Jonah to make plans to get together and talk to her regarding my current situation. I badly need someone to vent my feelings and ask for some advice right now.

“Mars, do you still remember what I told you years ago? Because your child is a boy, it is and will always be difficult for you,” Jonah said while sipping her boba tea. She then placed the drink on the table and added, “My second kind of did the same. Remember Gio? He also did that to me - he yelled at me with those scary, strange eyes.”

“Why did he act in such a way? And what was the reason behind his anger?” I asked this question while feeling genuine concern and anxiety building up inside me. I really wanted to fix the issue between Jack and me. I wanted us to be okay.

“What other possible reason could there be? It’s clear as day that he’s frustrated. It could be about his life at school, at work, his love life, or his sex life...” Jonah answered simply.

My mind started to wander to Jack and his current situation and status so far. He had recently graduated from college and started working at his new job. With this, those two aspects couldn’t be the reason behind his frustrations.

Then, was it due to love life then? But Jack has stated that he does not have a girlfriend at this time. There was also once, while we were eating dinner, he specifically told me not to bring up Crista again. He stated that he does not want to make a commitment with anyone at all at this time.

If it wasn’t one of those three, then all that was left in there was... His sexual life?

Was my son actually sexually frustrated?

Was it possible that it was the cause of the abrupt change in his behavior and the way he had treated me recently?

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