Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Microstory 1047: Virginia

My mother has only ever had one job her entire life, and it’s one of the hardest out there. She had me when she was nineteen years old, by a stranger passing through town whose name she never got, and has never seen again. She said the song Meet Virginia, by Train always really spoke to her, because the music video basically depicted a day in her own life, and she even doesn’t look unlike Rebecca Gayheart. Inspired by this, she named me Virginia, even though that muddies the analogy a bit. I’ve never worked a table, and I never plan to. She would take double and triple shifts just to provide for me, so I’ve spent a lot of time in that diner, watching her in her native habitat. Her job was absolutely dreadful, which is what really turned me off to it, but she kept doing it, because she didn’t think she was good enough to do anything better. The town of Blast City is full of really good and honest people, but the diner is like a world all its own. After all, it’s where she met my birthfather, and we all know he wasn’t a great person. Lots of truckers stop there, and other people who need to stretch their legs from a road trip. Somehow that place brings out the worst humanity has to offer, and I’m grateful that she’s finally done with that thankless job. Three years ago, I was approaching the age she was when she started working there. Even though I was clear that I would never follow her down that path, she couldn’t help but be reminded of her own childhood when she looked at me. It prompted her to really start thinking about whether she wanted to do this for the rest of her days, and of course, the answer was no. So she made a plan to go back to school, just like all those online degree commercials say adults like that are supposed to. We’ve all heard the stories about how Viola liked to go around, motivating people to take their education seriously, but she didn’t do that with my mom. She actually actively discouraged her from taking online courses. She said that this would end with her getting a better job, with better pay, but it wouldn’t make her any happier. Instead, Viola said my mom should try to become a singer. It was the craziest idea ever, because mom had no history of singing. It’s not like this thing she used to do and love, but had to give it up when she got pregnant. She never sang in choir, or even in the shower, but Viola was positive she would turn out to have a beautiful voice. Well, she was totally right about that. My mom has the most enchanting singing voice I have ever heard, and it upsets me to realize how many years we wasted not enjoying this characteristic of her. Viola and I weren’t the only people who thought this either. My mom has an agent, and has been performing all over the state for years. She’s primed to go national in the next few months. As soon as she finishes her first full album, she’s gonna blow up. The weirdest thing about it is that Viola also recommended I write her music, which is something I never knew I could do. Every single one of the original songs are mine, and my mother’s. And they’re also Viola’s. We’re dedicating the LP to her.

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