"Jules, you could at least come out by yourself, sometimes. You're an adult. Your son is brilliant. He's a great kid. I'm not saying anything against him. But maybe," the voice paused and sighed, "maybe you're spending too much time with him and not enough with other . . . you know, adults."
"So Aubrey, Jen, Gil, and Eric aren't adults . . . No, wait, let me say something, Mum. I get the fact that you're upset I'm spending too much time with Em, and we've already discussed that, but I don't see how your concern for my adult friendships has any real foundation."
She paused and waited for her mother to continue, but there was a silence on the other line--maybe a hesitant silence. Julian was used to talking to her mother face to face, and could almost see her twisting a bracelet on her hand and shaking her head as she waited for the words to come. Finally, she decided to say it and get the whole hour's conversation out in one sentence.
"It sounds like you just don't approve of them."
"Well, they're hardly mature--," began her mother, and Julian rolled her eyes. The whole hour had been only for this. Just for this.
"Look, Mum, I love you. However. The only reasons you've given me to avoid these people are things like . . . well, that Gil plays video-games. That Jen and Eric don't plan on having kids. That Aubrey . . . how can you think badly of Aubrey? He's a librarian, for crying out loud."
"He's a drug dealer."
"Dreadlocks do not make you a drug dealer, Mum. Aside from the fact that I think I am old enough to enter into being friends with other adults, I think you ought to spend some time with my friends. Aubrey said he wanted the recipe for the breakfast bread you brought by last Friday--want to come join us for coffee and we can talk recipes? It's just a half hour until Em gets out of school."
Her mother sounded flustered. "Jules, I am not giving my recipes out to drug dealers. I have to go; your father just came home. Bye, sweetie!"
Julian was laughing so hard at the thought of Aubrey as a druggie that she barely gasped a farewell before her mother ended the call.
"Does she make you keep a curfew, too?" asked Jen, sipping on a mocha and underlining a large paragraph in her DSM study guide. Julian laughed wryly. "She'd probably like to." Jen raised her eyebrows and gave her friend a Look. Julian tried to explain.
"I can't afford to alienate my mother because she worries about me. She's family, and she loves me. She'll get used to the idea of me having my own friends. She's just . . . overprotective, that's all. Come on, she's a mother."
"Is this your first time living apart from your parents?" Jen looked at Julian in a new light.
"No. The first time was a little over nine years ago. I had a flat in the city with a cousin of mine. Had to move back when I was pregnant with Emeric--that got too much to handle." She sifted through her purse for money to buy herself a coffee.
"It's because Em's dad left you. That's why she's overprotective. Of course, that would make sense." She stopped herself. "I'm sorry Jules, I'm totally prying. I've been reading too much of this type of stuff." Jen held up one of her psychology texts on attachment theory.
"Emeric's dad and I were never together. I only saw him in court." Julian found an extra quarter in her pocket. "And on the news. I'm going to get a coffee. I'll be right back."