Mrs Strabach’s Expectation

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Mrs Strabach’s Expectation

Most parents expect their children to become parents, expect their children to have a family like they have had, and expect their children to continue the propagation of progeny. Very few parents expect nothing from their children except to nourish them with love, love unconditionally.

Mrs Strabach expects her only child to become a parent, at least, if not to have a family in the sense of the past millennia and past centuries, or in the sense of a family as viewed in other parts of the world.

What is a family depends upon who are you, where you are, why are you the way you are, what you do, what do you live for….

Mr and Mrs Strabach successfully stuck together as a couple and parents unlike their peers in Sweden. Mr Strabach refused to accompany his wife to Gothenburg to see their only daughter as a result of earlier experiences and unfulfilled expectations. He is a realist who had learnt to accept the reality of life as the father of the daughter.

Mrs Strabach is the product of motherhood and mother of the last century in Scandinavia. She grasped the changing cultural conditions and circumstances in her world but assumed they will not affect her expectation from her daughter. She comprehended the cultural tastes of her daughter’s generation. Yet the least she expected from her daughter is to see her as the mother, if not to see her as the wife of someone or in the company of a man of one or the other kind.

As planned, Mrs Strabach and Miss Strabach met at the Central Station of Gothenburg. They hugged, and kissed: the burst of instantaneous love of genetic-cum-nurtured bond. Miss Strabach has decided that they will dine at the restaurant in Hotel Eggers, and she had booked a table for them. She showed little enthusiasm for little more physical activity than that physical activity that is mandated.

Miss Strabach is a sedentary creature.

Though Mrs Strabach had indirectly told her daughter ‘you can bring a friend of your choice, if you want’, she had come by herself.

They sat by the window in the restaurant overlooking Radisson Hotel and the tram- and bus-station called Central Station. Sans the sound from outside, in the comfort of wintry warmth radiating from radiators the mother and daughter ordered the food of their choice without checking the prices.

Not only the mother and father, the daughter too has a successful career and high income at a reasonably quite young age belying the expectations of her parents.

The food was brought and laid on their table, the mother and daughter started to eat and to converse. But Mrs Strabach could not fail from noticing that her daughter was struggling to sit in the chair: for the consolation of her mind, she told herself that the chairs were not made to the needs of all the customers.

As the conversation steered on expected lines, and as the food served satiated their palates, Mrs Strabach gently raised, “Have you met any interesting person…” Miss Strabach brushed away her question but told her mother with the interesting encounters as part of her work in other parts of the world. She travelled widely. The professional aspect of life have stimulating experiences for Miss Strabach to share with her mother than the personal aspect of her life.

With insipid inclination but feigned attention, Mrs Strabach listened to her daughter though lolled to hear about her daughter’s boyfriend or a faint hint of her would-be plans of motherhood. Previously, she had heard from her daughter about one Martin who sounded as the prospective partner for her daughter. Finally, the mother interjected, “Tell me about your personal life…how is Martin?”

“Which Martin?” Miss Strabach questioned.

“The one your father met last summer,” Mrs Strabach reminded.

“He is gone, for good,” Miss Strabach said without compunction. Mrs Strabach could not comprehend why no one could stick to her daughter for not more than two to three seasons.

Unable to repress her expectation, Mrs Strabach finally raised, “…you know, Joe, you know…watch out yourself, give time to yourself, you should…”

“I know, mom, what you’re trying to arrive at,” the daughter said holding the arms of the chair, “I have bloated, ah? I’m still single, ah? All that crap, ah?”

“Life is more than a profession, you are a human being. A woman,” Mrs Strabach murmured wiping her moist eyes with the napkin she wiped her mouth.

Smudges of lipstick and spots of food grease danced on the napkin as Mrs Strabach looked at it, artistically.

—Lucinda Palme