This step was inspired by Ashielf who suggested Evie's mother.
"Hey, Mom," she said. The woman's face contorted with irritation and guilt. She even went as far as to rub the bridge of her nose between two fingers. I know that kind of call. Il-Su could hear only the woman's side of the conversation clearly, but the punctuated tones from the phone told him everything he could want to know. "Yes, Mom, I'm sorry it's been a while since my last call."
The speaker on the other end responded with garbled tones oozing guilt.
"Yes, I'm glad you're not dead."
More garbled tones.
"No, Trev isn't with me. He's at a friend's for a sleepover."
Shocked garbled tones followed.
"The friend's name is Jonas. It's a three day weekend, he'll be fine."
Heated garbled tones.
"You know, Mother, I think I've got a handle on this. He's made his first friend at his new school and, damn it, he's not going to be kidnapped. So unless you have something productive to offer, I'm going to hang up."
More shocked garbled tones followed by mildly threatening garbled tones.
"You do that, Mother. Goodbye." The woman hung up her phone and placed it faced down on the bar before taking a deep gulp of her beer. "Damn that woman!" she said to no one in particular. Suddenly, the woman turned to Il-Su. "Does your mother criticize every decision you make about your kids and then guilt you for not calling as much?"
"No, but only because I don't have any kids. I'm just stuck with not measuring up to my sister and her doctor husband and not calling as much," said Il-Su. The woman laughed and then started to cry. Il-Su looked around not really knowing what to do. "It's okay, I know my sister gets basically the same treatment with the addition of why doesn't she have more grandkids."
The woman continued to cry. Il-Su moved a seat over and tentatively patted the woman on the back. "There, there?"
After a few minutes, the woman stopped crying. "Sorry, it's just that that used to be my situation until my brother and his wife died. Now, I've got the 'you'll never be as good a parent to Trevor as his mom and dad were' plus 'why aren't you married' and 'when will I get more grandkids'. After a while, it becomes a bit much."
"Oh fuck, that's a lot! Don't tell me, your mom is Korean too?" asked Il-Su. The woman smiled.
"Ha! No, I wish! My mother's Jewish."
"Jewish? Jewish moms have nothing on Korean moms. My mom likes to play up the whole 'family honor' bit," he said.
"My mom likes to play up the whole 'fate of our people' bit." She countered. Il-Su raised his hands in defeat.
"Okay, you win, the fate of the entire nation of people is a bit heavier on the guilt scale than a single family line. I'm Il-Su by the way." Il-Su surprised himself with the introduction. He had intended to leave the woman alone move along with his routine.
"Evie," the woman said as she extended a hand for a shake. Il-Su shook her hand firmly and enjoyed her hand’s softness while noting how it fit right inside of his. Then he noticed the paint spots. “Interesting color choice.”
Evie looked at Il-Su confused and then saw her hand. “Oh! Yeah, Trevor, my nephew, went to his first sleepover and I finally had some time to paint the walls. Ten-year-olds are great for painting their own rooms but living rooms are a bit out of the question.”
“Ha, yeah I can imagine. So what do you do?” he asked. Evie shrugged her shoulders.
“I do web design, but I’m independent so mostly I work on being a parent to Trevor. And you?”
What does Il-Su tell Evie he does for a living? Tell me in the comments.