Happy Mother’s Day
A deep midnight blue fades slowly into cerulean as the sun rises over the wall of trees behind the house occupied by the Johnsons. Mikey Johnson has yet to rise – the back of his head is buried in his pillow, his mouth is hanging open wider than the south end of the reservoir down the road, and the blankets from his wife’s side of the bed are keeping him nice and cozy. His wife Glauria is in the living room, standing by the sliding glass door and sipping her coffee to a teary-eyed view of the rising morning sun. Her eyes usually water in the morning, but this is not a usual day; not only is today Mother’s Day, but this is Glauria Johnson’s first Mother’s Day she’ll spend as a mother to only one boy.
Well, he’s not really a boy anymore. Jarome turned eighteen a good four years ago, and he stopped looking like a boy two years before that. Usually he and Mikey are the first ones to wake up in the Johnson house, as they are very much in touch with the primal human need to beat the sun in the morning – most carpenter types are – but Sunday is a day of rest, and rest the Johnson men will. All three of them, though only two are resting peacefully.
Mikey started the family business years before he started the family. M Johnson Home Improvement was Treeburg’s premier home improvement company for the better part of the last two decades, but as all good things must, that era came to an end. The quality of the work didn’t fall off like it does with so many manual laborers these days – it actually improved as the calendar flapped on, and they still get jobs sometimes – it’s just that everything is built now. Repair jobs occasionally pop up, but those are few and far in between, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, all things considered. Not the worst thing by far.
Every member of the Johnson family today plays a role in M Johnson Home Improvement – Mikey, the company’s titular M, is the bossman, obviously, and don’t you forget it; Jarome was the standard helper when he first started, but he quickly took over as the bossman’shelper after the previous one relieved himself of his position; and Glauria is more or less the behind the scenes of the business – she makes sure the government’s money counters don’t show up to dinner unannounced with empty coat pockets in need of new car keys to fill them. She also takes care of most customer interactions, as infrequent as they are, which she enjoys. Glauria’s always liked talking to other humans; Mikey and Jarome are more the strong and silent types.
The original guy who filled M Johnson Home Improvement’s bossman’s helper position (until he quit to get a job in a warehouse over in the industrial park) was named Owen. He was Mikey and Glauria’s first son, and he disappeared without a trace about… oh, a month ago today, actually. Well isn’t that a kick in the groin, this year’s Mother’s Day is the one-month anniversary of Glauria J’s being relieved of half of her motherhood. In other words, of Owen Johnson’s murder.
Well, it was never confirmed as a murder. Treeburg is, among other things, a very woodsy town, and Owen liked to go off in the woods when he was in a bad mood – which was often, my word was it often, he was such an angry boy – and one day after he got home from working in the warehouse he used to work at – after he got finished yelling at his dad from across their front yard, mind you – he ran off and never came back. There were search parties with dogs, helicopter sweeps, even some of the students from the woodshop classes Mikey teaches at the high school in the next town over came out to help look for Owen, but that all tapered off after a few weeks went by. No trace of the boy was ever found. Mikey still goes out there for an hour on most days to walk the trails Owen built for himself to walk, but like the essays the school makes him assign his students, he’s beginning to realize there’s no real sense in it. If Owen was going to be found, he would have been found already. Not many folks these days are equipped to survive out in the woods, especially not Owen Johnson.
Glauria used to go on the walks with Mikey, but she got to the point where she couldn’t handle it anymore. Being back there just reminded her of Owen. A lot reminds Glauria of Owen these days – seeing his car parked in the driveway, his closed door across the hall from Jarome’s room, looking out at all the rockstacks he built at the gap in the treeline across the backyard to mark the entrance to his trail system. This house on Fricker Drive was his home, he lived here once and he lives here no more, gone but not forgotten, and he left behind constant reminders of what he once was – one mother’s son. So to start this Mother’s Day, the first since Owen disappeared, Glauria watches as the sun peeks over the trees above the gateway to Owen’s arboretum through teary eyes, because she doesn’t know what else she can do.
Well, she has an idea of what to do, but she’s almost afraid to float it. Almost ashamed that it’s even come into her head, but it’s certainly there. It must be there for a rea–
Mikey wraps his arms around Glauria from behind and kisses her on the cheek. “Happy Mother’s Day, Glaur’.” He walks over to the kitchen and pours himself a cup of coffee, then joins her by the slider. They stand there in somber silence for more than a few minutes, long enough for Glauria’s coffee to go cold in its mug.
“Mikey…” she says in a whisper, quiet as a mouse.
“I think we need to sell this house.”
A Potential Buyer
The elder Johnsons decided not to use a realtor. That would just complicate things, make the process less cathartic. They moved into this house when Owen was just a baby, he was their baby boy, ‘Why did God have to take my baby boy away?’ and renovated it into unrecognizability all by themselves. In other words, they’ve done all the work up until this point, so what’s the sense in having a realtor bring in a bunch of randoms who would undoubtedly ask why they’re selling the gorgeous house, which would undoubtedly lead to the realtor explaining how a troubled young man went into the woods and never came back and how the family is oh so sad and they feel the need to get oh so far away as oh so quickly as possible, so they’ll take oh so any price? The realtor didn’t know Owen, he was a hardcase but he was the Johnsons’ hardcase; if anybody was going to speak on what happened to him in his own house, it would be his parents or his brother.
Fortunately (if the situation is looked at through the right lens) the For Sale By Owner sign in the front yard didn’t attract many potential buyers. In the first month the Johnsons got one meh offer from a flipper, a lowball that hit the ground yards before it rolled weakly over home plate, nothing legitimate. The next four months brought nothing, as did the next three, and the next two, and the one after that. The Johnsons were beginning to wonder if they were making a massive mistake in trying to move away from their problems instead of facing and working through them; that’s what Jarome said they were doing when his parents originally told him they were listing the Fricker house, that they were just avoiding the problem and making it worse on themselves, that they’d never really get over it if they bottled up the grief, even if they tossed that bottle into the ocean and ran away; the tide always returns to shore and the bottle will always carry its message, no matter how dark that message may be.
Then, one day, they got a phone call from a potential buyer. It was a guy in his thirties who referred to himself only as Mister Williamson over the phone. He said he had driven down the street on a whim and saw the house and immediately fell in love, said he’d pay full price if he could come in and take a look at it. Said he had recently taken his mother into his own care and needed a place bigger than the little bungalow he currently occupies out in upstate New York. The Johnsons were happy to let him have a look – the whole Mister Williamson thing struck Mikey as odd, but what could be done? ‘The man’s a potential buyer, a potential full price buyer, so why wouldn’t I have given him the benefit of the doubt? You better hope your hunch isn’t right, Mikey. He may have played you like a clarinet.’
Yesterday, Mister Williamson said he would arrive tomorrow in the afternoon at 4:00 if that worked well for the Johnsons, and it did. Mikey is on his way home from the school now, and Jarome and Glauria had the day to get the house tidied up and presentable. Of course, that involved going into Owen’s old bedroom for the first time since his untimely disappearance and clearing it out, but like Mikey told them before he left for work, they would have all day to do it. They could even save his room for last if it made them feel better.
They did save Owen’s bedroom for last. It didn’t make them feel better.
The worst part of the whole ordeal was finding Owen’s old journals. Over the course of his short – his tragically short – life, Owen had comprised an encyclopedic forty-two volumes of an ongoing journal which he called The Genius’s Handbook. Neither Jarome nor Glauria read through all of them – there was just no time – but they flipped through a few volumes and finally got the answer to the age-old question of why Owen was such an angry boy. He felt isolated, he felt that the world didn’t understand him, he was swept up in a delusion where he was infinitely superior to everyone around him and, because of this, the world did not want to understand him. He was sick, he had been sick for his entire life and he never got any help because nobody knew, not even his own family. They all just thought he was born with a deep, deep well of anger inside him, that he was rude and verbally abusive and an all-around bad guy out of choice, but that wasn’t the case at all. He was just… he was sick.
And now he’s not sick anymore.
Jarome wound up cleaning out the majority of Owen’s room by himself. He packed up all the journals into boxes and stashed them away in his car before doing anything else; in his reading, he learned that Owen was planning on publishing the journals one day when his nonfiction books (although he only got around to writing one, and it wasn’t very good) “took off,” and as much as he wanted to honor his dead brother’s last wishes, Jarome couldn’t let that happen. When the Johnsons move into their new house, Jarome plans to build a fire pit in the backyard and burn the books, let Owen’s spirit rest. It will give him closure, if nothing else, and it will keep the world from finding out just how out of sorts his older brother really was. And that would be a good thing… well, it would be good enough. For Owen, it would be good enough.
Mikey pulls into the driveway as Jarome’s chucking the last black bag of Owen’s junk – Owen was a bit of a hoarder, too, or in his own words, a collector, and his closet was packed floor to ceiling in black plastic bags of arbitrary stuff; this specific bag is full of stuffed animals, of all things – into the big dumpster in the driveway. He steps out of the car with a mortified look on his face, as if he had seen Owen crossing the road on his way home. Jarome asks him what’s wrong, but he’s just told to go inside and to get his mom into the living room so he could talk to them. And so he does.
When Mikey finishes getting out of his school clothes, he sits down on the couch between his wife and his last remaining son and gawks blankly forward, his mouth slightly open, his stare of disbelief aimed at the wall. For a moment his wife and son just look at him, then at each other, then back at him.
“Dad?” Jarome nudges Mikey’s arm. “What’s goin’ on?”
No response whatsoever.
“Honey, you look like you’ve seen a ghost. What’s wrong?”
Mikey swallows. “No ghost, but…” He swallows again. “I think I know who our potential buyer is.” He looks at Glauria, then at Jarome, then at the green couch cushion between his legs. Then, “They had me subbing for a psych class today, we were studying abnormal psychology. You know, mental disorders, like bipolar, depression… schizophrenia… and we were watching a talk given by this guy, the world’s top expert on the schizophrenia spectrum and the many disorders which come along with it. Well, he’s so knowledgeable on the subject because he has a schizo-spectrum disorder himself, as did his mom. I mean his mother, that’s what he called her, decisively not his mom, and… his voice sounded so familiar, I couldn’t place it. Didn’t place it until my drive home.” Mikey shakes his head a few times, clearing out the nervous haze. “Jarome, you might be too young to remember this, but maybe you do, Glauria. Around the time we moved into this house, there was a news story going around about a boy who lived alone with his mother – a boy who murdered his father, along with a bunch of his neighbors’ pets and some of the local wildlife. When the cops intervened, they found a big graveyard in the backyard full of corpses – dogs, cats, birds, squirrels, you name it – and also stuffed animals, but they weren’t stuffed. It was just the,” he starts twirling his hands, as if to make the gears churn, “the skins, I guess you’d call ‘em. Then, when they went into the house, they found where the stuffing had gone.”
Suddenly, Glauria’s face takes on the same look Mikey’s was wearing when he was driving home. “No… you’re not… are you talking about Hil–”
There’s a knock on the door.
“Mister Johnson, I presume?”
Jarome and Glauria are hiding on the couch. The former’s still not quite sure what’s going on. Where’d the stuffing go?
“Uh, y-yes, but you can call me Mikey.” He extends his hand for a shake. The buyer accepts. “And you must be…”
The buyer smiles kindly. “Mister Williamson – Hilter Odolf Williamson – the one and only.” The handshake goes on for quite a bit longer than it needs to, but Hilter doesn’t seem to pay it any mind. He doesn’t seem to notice how sweaty Mikey’s palm is, either… or maybe he just doesn’t mention it. Regardless, “May I come in? You have a nice hand and all – firm shake, too, I admire that in a man – but my Mother’s waiting for me in the car. I hate to rush things, but we must keep this as quick as possible.”
“Oh, uh, y-yes, please come in.”
Mikey steps over to the side and Hilter comes into the foyer, closing the front door behind him. He looks around with awe, his eyes tracing the crown molding around the perimeter of the white plank ceiling then drifting down the beige walls to the immaculate cherry hardwood floors and the base and shoe molding where they meet the walls. He’s especially taken by the custom-made wood baseboard covers, which were designed to match the trim.
“It’s beautiful, even more so on the inside than the out. And the space!” He clasps his hands together. Mikey flinches. So does Glauria, even though she can’t see Hilter from where she’s sitting. “I love how you’ve knocked down the walls and made it one big open room, it’s glorious. Glorious, I say!”
Mikey takes a step back. “How did you know–”
“Mikey, my good man, I do my fair share of research before picking up the phone. I know this house was raised in the sixties, and we humans just didn’t make ‘em like this back then.”
Hilter walks further into the Johnsons’ home, into full view of Glauria and Jarome, and honestly, he doesn’t look all that scary. Dude’s got short brown hair, a clean-shaven face, a powerful chin. Dressed in slacks and a blazer, wearing brown Stoneports on his feet. ‘This is the guy who murdered his father? He doesn’t seem that evil.’
“The kitchen is gorgeous. I love these granite countertops, you folks are folk of taste.” Hilter spins around on his heels and looks at Mikey, then to Glauria, then to the confused face of Jarome, and he can’t help but chuckle to himself. “May I see the upstairs next, please? I understand there is something of a second living room up there.”
Hilter Odolf Williamson is shown the upstairs: two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a second living room that Jarome calls the chill room. He has nothing but kind things to say.
The Johnsons lead him back down to the main floor and show him the master bedroom, then the office, then the tour continues into the basement and the Johnsons show him where the boiler and the sub-pump are, and who to call if he ends up buying the place and there’s an issue with any of the equipment. He tells them he’s absolutely interested – so interested, in fact, that he’ll cut them a check on the spot. And so he does. And so the Johnsons sell their house on Fricker Drive to a Mister Hilter Odolf Williamson so he can have a new house in which to both live and take care of his Mother.
“I’d like to move in this upcoming Mother’s Day,” Hilter tells them when they’re all gathered back in the foyer, “if that would work for all of you. I figure it would give you all plenty of time to find a new place and get settled, and I’d be lying if I said I was ready to make the move now. Would Mother’s Day suffice?”
Mother’s Day would indeed suffice.
“Very good! Now, just one final order of business.” He looks Mikey dead in the eyes, then Glauria, then Jarome, even though Jarome doesn’t look half as disturbed as his parents. “I suppose you lot know who I am.”
Nobody says a fucking word.
“I’ll take that as a yes – in my youth there was a news story printed about me which said I was the convicted murderer of not only some wild animals, but also the neighborhood pets and…” He pauses to rub the back of his head, as if he doesn’t know how to say what he’s about to say. “And my father – I suppose I may as well just come out with it. They said I killed him, gutted him, and filled him with the fluff which I took out of a myriad of stuffed animals, which they said I mutilated worse than the live animals which were found buried in my backyard. Not that that makes any sense, because, as you may know, stuffed animals are not animate, they cannot necessarily be mutilated…” He sees the disturbedness on the elder Johnsons’ faces evolve into downright terror, so then says, “But I digress. What you folks may not have heard – and I don’t know why, for the life of me, only the first half of the story was given front page placement and widespread coverage by the local and national news stations – was that I was found innocent of these terrible crimes.”
For the first time since Hilter Odolf Williamson stepped into the house, a pin could drop and go totally unnoticed.
“As it turned out, my Mother was the real culprit. She had a very severe form of schizophrenia in which she heard voices all her life. It all started with one that she named The Father, which speaks volumes considering how her father did a less than stellar job with his role in her life – but she was never diagnosed because of how well she hid it from others. She knew how to play normal, she had a way of getting into your head and making you believe not only that she told the truth, but that she was the truth. It was almost like telepathy, or even a sort of mind control… my studies have actually led me to developing a few theories about that, but they’re neither here nor there. You may have noticed my first two names, Hilter Odolf, bear a certain resemblance to, eh… someone else’s name; my Mother granted me this queer moniker because the many voices inside her head allegedly serenaded her with an incongruous song which only she could hear. She was told that the overall human spirit is sick, for lack of a better term, nearly past the point of getting better; that, after so many incarnations of the human spirit were made to witness humanity committing terrible atrocities to itself, like the Holocaust of the second world war, for example, it had become blackened and sick, and the only way for it to get better was to have a scapegoat, to have a target to catch the blame – and therefore punishment – for the world’s atrocities.” Hilter takes a pause to breathe, then, “I was that scapegoat. She explained all of this – the voices she heard and the origin of my peculiar name – to me in a letter which I was only to open when I turned eighteen, years after she was put away for murdering my father in cold blood. I, too, have a form of schizophrenia, although it’s not quite as severe as my Mother’s, and I had quite a collection of stuffed animals who I would talk to when I was younger. They were my only friends back then, especially after my father died, and one day I came home from school and found that they were all missing, and not only that, but that my father was back! He was there, sitting on the couch in front of the television, just like old times… was what I thought at first. Then I looked him in the glass eyes and saw he was stuffed. Like a taxidermy animal.”
Hilter sighs with a certain tone that’s not quite nostalgia; not happiness, not reminiscence, but merely an acknowledging of a certain darkness which has since been illuminated.
“After murdering my father she developed a taste for blood, it seemed, and moved on to the local wildlife and such. She was an avid runner and, for the sake of keeping things civil, let’s just say she learned how to outrun animals with twice as many legs as she had. When the neighbors got to complaining about their pets going missing, they came to our house – we were the only house on the block without any pets, so it was a natural enough conclusion to come to – and my Mother, finally getting her chance to use me as the scapegoat her voices sang about in their songs, threw me under the bus and had me taken away to a mental health facility. My stay didn’t last long, as my Mother kept on running around and the animals kept on going missing long after I had disappeared, and I was eventually let out and placed into foster care, as my Mother didn’t have any living family to speak of. In truth, she may have killed all of them off too, there’s no way to really know. She had no contacts, didn’t really speak to anybody outside of the clerks at the local grocery stores and the mailman. She knew everybody, but nobody really knew her. I’ve spent my whole life studying the human mind, as well as consciousness in general, in an attempt to figure out exactly why one may find themself on the schizophrenia spectrum and why some are further along it than others. Up until recently I’ve been living on my own in a little bungalow near the university which currently pays me to conduct my research, but then I got a call from the psychiatric ward that was taking care of my Mother. It seemed the old girl’s brain had burnt out and taken a turn for the catatonic; rather than placing the burden on them, I decided to take her in.”
Hilter clasps his hands together and smiles a genuinely happy smile. “And now we’re all caught up.” Then, in a jovial manner, he asks, “Any questions?”
The Johnsons share a thick, meaty silence; neither Mikey nor Glauria know what to say. Then, Jarome speaks up.
“What have you found out?”
Hilter Odolf Williamson’s smile widens. “I’ve found out that schizophrenia – or what we refer to as schizophrenia, that is – is, in simple terms, a case of the human brain interpreting reality a tad bit too fast for its own good. Being too aware, in other words. You see, when we perceive sights, noises, smells, the works, our body is taking in particles and vibrations; this sensory information is raw data, and the brain works as a translator; in the brain of a schizophrenic, the translations may be done at so fast a pace that the brain often makes mistakes. A gust of wind could result in one hearing someone calling their name, a shadow on the road could be seen as a menacing human form, things along those lines. Many psychologists disagree with me, but as far as those who fund my research and I am concerned, my hypothesis is solid. For example, if the brain operates too quickly, then it would make sense that the rest of the body operates too quickly as well, no?”
Jarome nods his head. “Sure.”
“Interestingly enough, and this is going to seem like a reach, but if one analyzes the urine of those inflicted with schizophrenia after they drink and process orange juice and compares it to the urine of neurotypicals who also just processed orange juice, one will find the presence of a specific enzyme in the schizophrenic’s urine that is not present in that of the neurotypical’s. This happens because the body processes the juice too quickly for the enzyme to be properly broken down, and so it’s simply passed through the system, lickety split. If one organ works too quickly, then so may another. Make sense?”
“I… suppose. But how does that make schizophrenics more aware than normal humans?”
“Well, with neurotypical humans, there is a delay between the receiving of raw sensory data and the translation of said data. In humans with schizophrenia, that delay is much shorter, if it’s even there at all. Heightened sensitivity leads to heightened awareness, which leads to a heightened chance of misinterpretation of one’s surroundings, or in other words, hallucination, which often leads to delusional thinking, which may lead to… well, in the very worst of cases, the kind of business my Mother Daisy used to get into. As for why the brain gets to be too fast for its own good, there are many possible factors, and some are just plain genetic, but most point to extended periods of isolation during youth, especially in cases of bad family environments. A boy or girl may spend all their time alone in their bedroom – talking to stuffed animals, for example, to escape an abusive relationship with their parents or guardians, or just out of a lack of friends and other things to do – and all of the energy which would normally go into making their whole bodies grow and develop would go instead into developing their brain, because, rather than using and exercising their bodies, they use and exercise their brain all day. Over time, those stuffed animals might start talking back; who’s to say the brain wouldn’t learn to make the interior voices rise without the exterior trigger?”
Jarome nods his head again. He has no more questions.
Feeling satisfied, Hilter looks around at the previous owners of his new house. “Well then, I was being rhetorical when I asked if there were any questions, but since you asked, I had to indulge myself. In my travels around this vast, magnificent planet, I’ve found that not many humans truly understand consciousness, not like I do, at least, and I enjoy sharing my wealth of knowledge on the subject. That said, my Mother’s waiting in the car, and I really must be going now.”
Hilter firmly shakes hands with each surviving member of the Johnson family. “It was a pleasure meeting you all, and thank you so much for agreeing to sell me your beautiful home. I will take great care of it, that much I promise.” On his way down the front steps, he says, “I’ll call a few days in advance of my moving in, just to make sure all the affairs are in order. If you need any help packing or moving, please do let me know. I’d be more than happy to lend a hand.”
When the door shuts, Mikey and Glauria finally breathe again. Although he doesn’t say it, Jarome thinks twice about burning off all of Owen’s old journals. He’s still probably going to do it, but now he’s thinking about maybe saving them instead. Maybe he could donate them to a head doctor like Mister Williamson for purposes of research… or maybe he’ll still incinerate them. He’ll probably incinerate them… but maybe he’ll save them. Maybe he won’t, but maybe he will. It’s just a thought, and they’re not going to be moving out for at least a couple more weeks, so he won’t be acting on it either way any time soon. But it’s still a thought. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be enough.
The Johnsons never call Mister Williamson for help in moving, and when he calls a few days before he moves into his new home, he finds the landline has been disconnected. He takes this as a good sign, as investing energy in presuming the opposite would be foolish, and on Mother’s Day, Hilter Odolf Williamson and his Mother Daisy move into their new house on Fricker Drive in the town of Treeburg, New Jersey.
Hilter brings over all the boxes, unpacks, and fully moves in before welcoming his Mother into her new home. He builds her a little apartment in the basement – the garage opens up into a mud room, which leads to a room the Johnsons used for storage, which then leads to the laundry room where the boiler and sub-pump are located. Daisy’s new digs are in that middle room, and that’s just where he brings her, wheelchair and all.
A grunt escapes Hilter’s mouth as he lifts his Mother out of her old wheelchair and lays her down in her new bed. She stares blankly up at the unfinished ceiling, her cheek slicked with drool, her nose whistling as the air flows weakly in and out. Hilter dusts his hands off and then folds up the wheelchair, stashing it between the bed and the wall.
“Well Mother, we’re here. You have a new place to be now, away from the hospital and all those nurses. I didn’t trust them one bit, who knows what kind of ugly shit they got into with you?” He shakes his head ruefully. “Anywho, welcome home.”
Hilter starts to walk out, then dramatically jerks himself to a stop and turns back around. “I almost forgot!” he says, reaching into his back pocket. “I made you a special card for Mother’s Day, Mother. I even wrote you a little poem on the inside. I’d like to read it to you, if you don’t mind.”
Daisy Williamson says absolutely nothing.
“Great! Here, look, I drew a picture on the front, too.” Hilter holds the Mother’s Day card in front of Daisy’s vacant eyes. “See? It’s a runner girl, she even has a little pink headband like the one you used to wear. I know you can’t do much running anymore,” he lightly taps the nearest leg of the bed with his foot, “but it’s the thought that counts, right? Well, I certainly think it is. In any case, the poem. Ahem…”
Don’t think you can run away from it now/
All you’ve done has come back to you, Pow!/
I won’t do mean things like shave off your brows/
So please excuse me as I say this out loud/
You’re the devil. I love you, though I do not know how.
Love, your son, Hilter Odolf
“If you look at the first letter of each line it spells out Daisy, like your name. Neat, huh?”
Daisy continues to breathe, slowly, steadily, and absently, her nose whistling like a bored jailbird.
Hilter closes the homemade card and runs the crease between two of his fingernails. He places it standing up on the nightstand next to his Mother’s bed so, in the unlikely event she ever comes out of her catatonic semi-comatose state, she can look at it. So she can remember. So she can fall right back into the depths of her twisted mind where her despicable consciousness belongs.
Hilter Odolf turns around and goes to leave the room. On his way out the door, leaving the light on of course, he pokes his head back in to say, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mother. Welcome home.” Then he shuts the door behind him.