“I’ve been biting my tongue my whole life,” the mother said softly. “First, it was my mother. She had no problem with me paying the bills, but God forbid I have an opinion on anything. Then it was my your father. I don’t know how I lived with him for all those years. You finally get tired of biting your tongue, you know? You finally ask yourself: ‘when is it my turn to speak?’”
She sighed and watered her flowers.
The son looked down at the floor. He didn’t know what to say. His silence was heavy.
“I always loved hydrangeas,” the Mom said. “I could never buy them. Mom said flowers were a waste of money. Your father hated them. He said they looked ‘cheap.’ But I always liked them. Did you know that the leaves can change color depending on the pH levels? That was like me, only “pH” stood for personal hell. I changed, too, depending on the levels.”
The son watched her speak.
“Hydrangeas are quietly unique. They are colorful but not gaudy. I always have them around the house. It’s my choice now. I speak through my choices, do you understand?”
The son nodded.
“Don’t ever let anyone speak for you or decide how you live your life, okay? If I have any wisdom to pass along, it’s that.” She picked a few dead leaves from the plant. “And when I die, put some hydrangeas on both sides of the casket.”