To my great surprise, my mother did not seem terribly shocked by any of it (in hindsight, it must have been fairly obvious as I amassed increasingly valuable possessions and had abruptly stopped asking for money). While she wasn’t happy by any stretch of the imagination, she didn’t fly into a rage, burst into tears, or otherwise react hysterically. Of course she was concerned about my safety–and upset that I had given out our shared home telephone number to a client–but when I outlined my security measures to her, she was genuinely impressed.
Neither I nor my mother have a very clear memory of that conversation. We were both in such shock, not only that my profession had come to light but also at the way in which I’d been exposed. Even the fact that my mother and I were able to have such a calm and level-headed conversation about the situation was stunning since, at the time, it was difficult for us to settle who would do the dishes without bickering.
I remember that morning the way I remember peculiar dreams; it’s more a series of feelings and images than a coherent event. I remember my mother’s voice waking me, her expression a mix of concern, irritation and perplexity, my panic at the prospect of a potentially crazy client knowing too much about my real life, her initial look of incredulity when I told her what I was doing and why, and my relief at her ultimate ambivalence.
When I asked my mother about her memory of what happened in hopes she would recall more clearly, she found that the same was true for her. It’s strange, sharing this non-dream dream with her. While both she and I know that my being outed by a creepy client was a real thing that actually happened, the details slip through our fingers. The whole affair seems like something close to magic, partly because I am still completely astounded by my mother’s measured reaction.