“This is nice,” Emily told her son, Dean, after the waitress took their order and left with the menus.
She wanted to get her son’s attention, as he was focused solely on his phone.
“Yeah, sure,” he muttered, his eyes glued to the screen. But suddenly, he looked around. “I wish we weren’t so close to the restroom, but with your wheelchair, we can’t sit anywhere else.”
Emily tried to ignore the snide comment and took a drink of water.
“Still, it’s nice that we’re dating after so long. How’s college going? Your classes? Is there anything interesting going on on campus?” she questioned, curious to know more about her child’s life.
Since leaving for college, Dean rarely called his mother, and Emily knew he had found his way and loved his independence. Growing up with a disabled mother couldn’t have been easy, even with the caregivers she sometimes hired. She wanted him to enjoy his own life away from these problems. Still, it would be great to hear from him from time to time.
So she invited him to a special meal and had to beg him repeatedly to accept. She even bribed him with her late grandfather’s expensive watch. After all, maybe that was the reason he came. However, she only wanted to look on the bright side.
“Oh, it’s fine, whatever,” he sighed.
Once again, Emily reached for her glass of water to take a sip, but she accidentally bumped it against the table and the glass shattered on the floor. The crash was so deafening that everyone in the restaurant looked at them, and finally Dean looked up from his phone.
“For the love of God! I can’t even have a nice dinner without you making a scene and people watching us. I didn’t want to come, but you kept pestering me! God, I can’t wait for this night to be over,” he angrily threw out.
Emily’s eyes went wide at her son’s display of anger, and she knew people were still watching them, because his voice echoed throughout the restaurant. Finally, she began to cry softly and she told him, “Okay, let’s go now.”
“Great!”, Dean replied as he grabbed his chair to stand up.
“Wait a minute!” a man said as he approached them. Emily looked up and saw the angry expression on his face. His eyebrows were furrowed, his lips curled, and the wrinkles on his forehead were more prominent in the yellow glow of the ceiling light.
“I… I don’t have…”, Dean stammered.
“You didn’t what? Do you know that I would give anything to have my mother with me again. She taught me everything about life, love, hope and dreams. She raised me all by herself. Just like this beautiful woman here, she was also disabled. She had an illness that prevented her from having a normal job. Despite all that, she raised me. I never went hungry. I never lacked for anything. I suspect this woman did the same for you,” the man continued.
“Today, I own this restaurant and many others around Chicago. All because of her. And she couldn’t see my success.”
Dean lowered his eyes to his lap in shame as Emily stared at the restaurateur, fully focused on his story.
“Then call your mother. Talk to her. You have it right here! This is the greatest privilege you will ever have! Be better! Otherwise, no matter what you do or how much money you make, you will never be known as a real man.”
Emily looked at her son and was shocked to see tears rolling down his cheeks. But before she could say anything, Dean rolled his eyes and said in a choked voice:
“I’m so sorry, Mom.” His face was scrunched up and Emily wanted to hug him to make the pain go away.
“Oh, honey,” she said, and he leapt to his feet and hugged her, asking for forgiveness again.
“Okay, my work is done. Your meal will be ready soon, and someone will come quickly to pick up the broken glass,” said the owner, who then introduced himself as Mr. Harris, clapping his hands and walking away.
Dean sat back down, put his phone away, wiped away his tears and began to speak:
“Well, my classes are going well, but they’re a little boring…”
Emily smiled, drying her own face. The rest of the dinner was fantastic, thanks to Mr. Harris’ strong words. And Dean never mistreated his mother again.