His Mother’s Best Friend


“You’re only 29, gotta lot to learn. But when your Mommy dies, she will not return.”The Sex Pistols, 1977 On the day Daniel Congress buried his mother, it rained like hell. Absolute buckets. The morning had broken bright and clear, but by early afternoon the sky was ashen and the wind had picked up. As the funeral cortege turned into the Colma cemetery the rain began to fall, gently at first, but by the time the mourners were assembled around the open grave, the wind-driven downpour was lashing at them like a sadistic prison guard. Daniel Congress’ mother had been killed eight days before, the victim of a ghastly head-on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge that made headlines across the state of California simply because it was so gruesome. His father had died seven years ago at the age of forty-one, on the day Daniel had turned eighteen, felled by a massive coronary brought on by years of smoking, heavy drinking and a deep and abiding hatred of physical exertion. And it was just dawning on young Daniel that, with his mother’s death, he was alone. When his father was alive, Daniel’s parents didn’t go out much. They preferred instead the company of their friends and neighbors at the more intimate gatherings they took turns hosting in their suburban homes – at least, that’s what he’d thought. But his father’s body wasn’t even in the ground when his mother collected on his life insurance policy, sold their house in the East Bay hills and bought a condo in North Beach, and began a new life. She was all over the city, his Mom, volunteering during the day and out at night, at restaurants, clubs, parties – wherever there was the promise of a few cocktails and some lively conversation. Of course, she was. Who could blame her? His mother had always been a striking woman, good looking but not necessarily beautiful in the conventional sense, Daniel knew, but with a hint of something about her that said beneath her relatively conventional exterior beat an adventurous heart.But that side of his mother had been pushed to the back burner, and as the years ticked by during the course of her marriage to his father, he knew that somehow his mother had lost sight of herself – first in his father’s career and then in their children – the three of them – as they were born: first him, and escort then his sister and then his other sister. And then one day she looked up and realized that she was no longer Elaine Whitney; she was instead Mrs. Arthur Congress, wife and mother of three, a former president of the PTA and a senior member of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters –  until Dad had his heart attack. His youngest sister, who had always been pretty tightly wound and was still in college at USF, was repulsed by the change in their mother when Dad died. Every few weeks or so, she would call Daniel to provide an update on Mom’s most recent “shameful” adventures, which usually involved a lot of alcohol, occasional recreation drug use and the latest in a string of men who weren’t too much older than Daniel. Let her be, Daniel would tell his sister, at least she’s happy. At least she was happy … Daniel’s mother and her date had been coming back to San Francisco after a night of drinking in the overpriced waterfront bars of Sausalito. When they merged onto 101 headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge in her date’s brand new BMW sportster, Mom’s escort for the evening – some twenty-six-year-old, Silicon Valley-type who evidently had a thing for MILFs – had been three sheets to the wind and coked to the gills. And so had his mother. But that wasn’t what caught the interest of the media; dead drunks were a dime a dozen. No, the red meat for the reporters was what his Mom and her date had allegedly been up to when they so tragically met their fate. According to the police report, neither of the car’s occupants had been wearing a seat belt, and at the moment of impact his mother had had her face buried in her date’s lap. He had been ejected through the windshield with extraordinary force. They found his battered, bloody body in the middle of the bridge, nearly thirty yards away from where the car finally came to rest, his pants around his ankles. His mother’s body was still in the BMW, its interior spattered with an inky, black coat of its most recent occupants’ blood. Her head had been crushed by the steering column, and her jaw had snapped shut with the same massive force that had launched her date through his expensive windshield. When the EMTs pulled his escort bayan mother’s body from the smoking wreckage, they found the bloody stump of his dick still lodged in what was left of her mouth. The Bay Area reporters had had a great time with that salacious detail, although their facade of public decency made it difficult to report on the incident without resorting to the primmest of euphemisms. But they all took their shots, didn’t they, the bastards. *** From across the open grave, Jennifer Taylor watched Daniel climb into the limo with his sisters after the service. Jennifer had known Daniel’s mother well and although she had never met Elaine Congress’ son, she certainly had heard a lot about him from her: how he’d gone through a string of girlfriends after college, how he’d travelled through Europe, how he was offered this job here and that job there, but mostly how he was at loose ends, unable to really decide what to do next. His mother thought it was her fault. Jennifer and Elaine met seven years ago when Jennifer, one of San Francisco’s top real estate agents, then and now, had sold Elaine her North Beach condo. The two women discovered they had a lot in common – they were about the same age and they both had graduated from UC Davis – and they quickly became friends. Both were newly single and, as they found out over Cosmopolitans at the WashBag, they shared an interest in younger men. But at the reception, Jennifer didn’t know many people. Elaine, as it turned out, had kept her life well compartmentalized. So she mingled, made small talk and shared a few of her tamer Elaine stories, and no one mentioned the well-publicized circumstances surrounding her death. Jennifer was about to leave when she saw Daniel sitting by himself at a table in the back of the room, his hand curled around a glass of red wine, grief carved into his face. He was, she decided, much better looking than his mother had led her to believe. “Do you mind if I join you?” Jennifer asked, pulling out a chair. “No, of course not. Please,” Daniel replied, gesturing across the open table. Picking up his glass, Daniel studied the older woman who sat across from him. Not too much make-up and a tailored black blazer over a tight-fitting black blouse. bayan escort A close-cut, black skirt emphasized the flair of her slim hips; her thick, (dyed?) blonde hair was fashionably styled. She’s pretty well put together. And her flinty blue eyes told him this woman did not waste time with bullshit. “I just wanted to tell you how deeply sorry I am for your loss,” she said, looking him in the eye. “Your mother and I were good friends and I can only imagine the pain that you’re feeling right now. If there’s anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to ask.” “Thank you,” Daniel said, looking up from his glass. “I appreciate your kind words, but I think I’ll be okay.” Jennifer settled in to her chair and looked across at him. “You know,” she said, breaking the silence, “your mother’s place isn’t far from here. Have you ever seen it?” That’s a line … “No, no I haven’t,” Daniel replied, draining the last of his wine. “Mom and I were close, but when we spent time together we always went out. I’d usually meet her here or wherever we were having dinner. I’m not sure if she didn’t want me to see her place, or what, but there it is: in seven years, I never did.” “Would you like to? Your mother gave me a key, just in case, you know, she needed something.” Daniel nodded and didn’t bother to ask what that something might be, sizing up Jennifer with growing curiosity. “I suppose. After all, I’m going to have to clean it out sometime now that she’s …” Daniel said softly, the end of his thought unspoken. She put her hand over his on the table. “C’mon,” she said quietly. *** Jennifer slipped her key into the door of a third-story flat on Vallejo Street and they stepped inside. “Holy shit,” Daniel whispered, looking around his mother’s place for the first time. A bay window opened on to Grant Ave. below, and noise from the Columbus Ave. traffic drifted in to the room when he lifted the sash. “I bet you can see Alcatraz from here on a good day,” he said, turning to Jennifer. “You can,” she said, watching him take it all in. His mother’s place was not at all like he had imagined it, and this room had a surprisingly masculine feel to it. One wall was entirely taken up with built-in bookshelves that held hundreds of volumes – growing up, Daniel couldn’t remember ever seeing his mom reading – and a Persian rug covered the oak floors. A brass floor lamp sat next to a chair upholstered in deep, chocolate leather. “Would you like a drink?” Jennifer asked, hanging her coat in the front hall closet. “I believe I would,” Daniel replied, sitting down in the leather chair.

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