Nice girl

Tonight, we went to see a show in the West Village called “Nice Girl,” about a woman who ends up dropping out of Radcliffe College after her dad falls ill and dies, and she lives with her mother for the next 16 years and helps take care of her. She takes an assistant-type job at an accounting firm, and it’s clear she thought she had more potential than to be someone’s assistant at the age of 38.

The mom is emotionally manipulative. She tries to get her daughter to do things by guilt-tripping her here and there, and she loves to act helpless, as though she would not be able to survive without her daughter’s daily help. She gets angry at the idea that her daughter would even think of moving out and being on her own. Wow, this seemed so familiar to me. It’s like my own mother in a lot of ways. She always says she’d never be able to live alone, ever.

It made me remember the one time when Ed had a tiny chance of moving out. He found a small room for rent in an in-law of someone’s house at an affordable price, and he considered moving. It would have given him freedom not just from the overbearing eyes of our parents, but also freedom from constant scrutiny and intense and unwarranted criticism, which chipped away at him every single day. Unfortunately, when my mom brought it up with me one day on the phone, she was angry about it. She said it was a stupid idea, that he’d never survive living on his own, and that his job wasn’t good enough for him to move out. She also said that if he did decide to move, he wouldn’t be allowed to take anything from this house with him except the bed he slept in. That infuriated me, and I told her it was wrong. My words meant nothing to her, though, and of course, she just yelled back.

Well, now the house has all these nice things that Ed was so generous and loving to buy — endless bath towels, bedsheets, pillows, comforters, a fancy knife set that is barely used, dishes, plates, bowls, bathroom supplies, even a freaking flat screen TV. That bed is still there, too. But there is no Ed. That house will never see Ed ever again.

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