Bart canceled his plans with Milhouse so that he could try to cheer me up with an afternoon of ice cream and Itchy and Scratchy reruns. But as soon as my mom saw me, she told Bart to go ahead and play with Milhouse for a while. She wanted to talk to me.
Yes, Mom? Is everything all right? I asked apprehensively. She had this rare look on her face that always scared me; her customary smile was gone and her usually opulent eyes swam with bottomless worry.
Well, everything is all right with me. But I get the feeling that you couldnt say the same thing, she said, putting her hand tenderly on my shoulder.
I looked down. What makes you say that?
A mother always knows, my mom said. Lisa, your mood swings have been very extreme. Sometimes youre delirious and sometimes youre depressed, and if I didnt know better, Id say you were in love.
My heart hurt at my moms statement, and I guessed that I really couldnt fight telling her anymore, even though I couldnt look at her as I did. I sighed. I guess youre right, Mom. I kind of am in love.
My mom tried hide her shock and dismay. Well, Iwith who, Lisa?
With whom, actually, and wellthis is going to sound pretty crazy butuh Just get the name out there. Youll feel better when you just tell her. UmMr. Smithers.
Mr. Smithers?! My moms veil of peace with the situation had vanished. Mr. Smithers? Your fathers boss?
Heh. Um. Yeah. Could you try to keep your voice lower, please? I asked, desperately wanting my dad to be kept in the dark about my infatuation. I couldnt even imagine what he would think.
Lisa, Mr. Smithers is 40 years older than you, my mom said, shaken.
35, actually, I corrected. And its not like I expected anything to happen. Well, maybe a little. Its justoh, Mom, we have so much in common, and you know how rare it is for me to find someone I can really relate to. Sometimes I think Im the only one here who really cares about art and culture and seeking beauty, but Mr. Smithers does too, and well…I found these unexpected connections to him.
My mom groaned in uncertainty and looked at me agitatedly. Well, I understand that perfectly. I do. It is difficult to meet people like that, and I think its wonderful that you have. But you must realize that it can only be friendship, right?
Of course, I realize that, I lied.
Is that the problem? Or is it something else?
I hesitated. Well, I kind ofsnuck my big nose in his business and now he doesnt want to even be my friend.
Oh, Lisa, what happened? asked my mom.
Wanting to crumble from mortification, I replied slowly, I kind of, well, asked him if hewellpreferred the company of men, as you like to say.
My moms eyes widened in surprise as she put her hands to her cheeks. Lisa! Why would you do that?
Because his ex-wife made some suggestive comments at the dance and then Bart and I met this guy who claims to have dated him, I said honestly but quickly.
Why would a man approach you and tell you that? my mother asked, bewildered.
Oh, God… He didnt really. We kind of approached him.
I shut my eyes and cringed. We were down in the gay community of Springfield and well, Bart just asked him
That was likely the last straw. My mom now imitated my penultimate action, closing her eyes and wincing. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes to look at me. I waited for her to get angry with me for my complete lack of appropriateness, but before she could, I said, Im sorry for what I did, Mom. I embarrassed myself and my family, and I regret ever having these feelings, but I cant help it.
My mom looked at me first with an unreadable expression, but then she put her arms around me and said softly, Lisa, love makes us do the craziest things. It makes us completely lose sight of logic and sense, but thats part of what makes it such a magical experience. Please dont ever regret having those feelings, my sweetheart. Be thankful for them; they dont come around too often.
I smiled and hugged my mom tighter. Thanks, Mom, I whispered. I guess I dont regret this experience, but I do regret damaging my friendship with Mr. Smithers.
My mom hesitated, probably trying to find the right words. Everything happens for a reason, Lisa. I know its a clich, and I know how you hate clichs, but its true. If you and Mr. Smithers really do have a connection, hell come around to see it eventually.
I nodded slowly and hoped desperately that she was right. A minute later, our doorbell rang, and my mom went to answer it. Although she only left my side for a moment, I felt instantly alone again. I just wanted her to come back and kiss away my tears. Throughout the whole ordeal, Bart had been there for me, now my mom, and I know my dad would have been if he had known. Maybe I wasnt so totally alone in Springfieldbut it just wasnt the same.
Lisa, theres someone here to see you, my mom called from the living room.
I sniffled. If its Janie, tell her Im not feeling good and that Ill give her a call later.
Miss Simpson? the voice came much softer than usual. I looked up to see Mr. Smithers standing next to my mom, looking very unselfconfident and contrite. Do you think we could talk for a minute?