if i knew this day would be all i’d have left of this incarnation of my self i would tell you everything…
my mother kissed me saying that i wasn’t insane “just bubbly”
i ask her to say a little prayer for me
i feel so ill, so love sick.
my brother david is so calm and sweet to me. and his memory is sharp as he remembers everything i’ve ever said, especially when it hurt his feelings: “remember when you said i was wrong.” i can’t remember but i can imagine saying something stupid like that. and after all this time he still remembers.
i kiss my sisters head even we carry on in our usual screaming and fighting matches like we always do until Bryan asks us why we do that. i don’t know. i tell her she’s so pretty. she’s gotten even more beautiful because she’s in love. beautiful and knows it and fully expects us to pick up after her now that this has occurred. i tease her, i kiss her, i wrap myself around her and yes, she loves me. i know she does as she asks for me to sleep next to her and she wants me near her before all others but something still pains her. so much so that when we leave the California wineries and the host tells faithy he thinks we’re all beautiful but that “the blue eyed one is gorgeous”, it still stings her a little. it doesn’t sit well like the wine glass she throws at me in the car which nearly shatters on my chest. i tell her “that’s enough” and she slumps down and falls asleep on my shoulder.
my other sister keeps reminding me that she’s going to do an odd thing and date a white boy even if she’s the whitest sister we have.
we’re all half-breeds but we are one family because we have one mother
i’m getting fat(ter) although nothing seems to catch my appetite
except for this red
this love…an irreverent infidel
if i knew love
if i knew this day would be the last incarnation of myself
i would tell you that i love you
i look at mom’s depression handbook next to her dresser.
“it’s been this way for six years.”
six years of her partner dying
but it’s maybe been longer than that…more like twenty-one years of not being very much like her six or eight or even nine year old self.
My uncle tells me: “she use to chase the neighborhood boys down for beating up her brother. she was younger but she’d chase them with her baseball bat.”
My mother says: “dad would take me fishing…he would even play baseball with me because my brother wouldn’t. i was a tomboy. i was so shy but all i wanted to do was win. i once had to find this four-leafed clover on a hunt and i couldn’t find it. i looked and looked and finally grabbed an extra leaf and added it to a three-leafed clover. of course i was so young and thought this would work so i kept going back to the lady but she’d say, “now darling this isn’t a four-leafed clover. i’m sorry love.” i kept at it and tried her again and again until she ended up giving me the prize. the prize was rock-candy. even though i wanted to win, i promised that the next time i’d find out what it was i was trying to win for.”
Her laughing at her story, makes me laugh too.
…i’m always laughing with her although my sisters are giving her the sideway glances of “weirdo”. am i the only one that thinks she’s funny?
I remember my uncle telling me: “your mother she was so head strong as a kid.” i have to imagine this for a moment.
i have no clue as to what woman they are speaking of. my mother has been afraid my whole life. where has she been my whole life? i’ve known her as afraid. unsure. someone who looked for comfort in me. someone i gave protection to. she was not the matriarch that girls praise as showing them how to live in the world. i never…i never was one of those women who could breathe easily in their bodies from having mothers who showed them how. i was the five year old modeling myself in opposition to her…from the smallest things like refraining over and over again from naturally sticking out my tongue like she did when she was concentrating. so i’m sitting here looking at her with wide eyes as she is becoming this beautiful creature.
“i tell my boss where to go these days. when i was taking care of dad, i was too sad to deal. i had to do one at a time. it’s only now that am i finally able to tell my boss off. the boss calls me in and i grab my notepad. i enter with a smile: “hello, you wanted to see me.” my fingers a flick away from writing down everything we say. the boss tells me a lie. i tell her that it/she isn’t correct. she’s shocked. i tell her that i don’t think her tone is very respectful. another shocked look again from her. at least now she has a real reason to dislike me *chuckling*. but that’s not to say i do what i should in the moment. sometimes you know i’m just too stunned to respond.” i nod listening to my mom. i know.
but i don’t know this woman. this is not the same woman crying that she didn’t want the task of supporting the entire household alone and then crying that she would be unable to keep her job…
i don’t know what happened to my mother but i like this woman who is coming.
we all die. death carries you away, brings you again, born new. in her sadness something died with him, as she is not as she was. she’s changed since dad’s death like she changed the day she saw her father die as she was playing in the yard. her father’s plane blew up in the sky above and came crashing down to the base below. he died as his plane was led into another by a drunk air-traffic controller and was burned so gruesomely that they refused to let his wife see him. he lived only a few hours and when he died she lost her self. she lost the one parent that wanted her and said so.
she lost her father and friend who took her fishing and who’d share a pint of ice-cream with her and two spoons. who’d read Shakespeare to her on the train. who was the only person in the world she would give g-d up for if he asked.
she lost hold of her spirit holding onto grass that was floating on water. nothing held still and it showed in the wet beds her mother would throw her from in the morning and in the years after when she left her family for a place that cast out all her smiles and grew her down versus raising her up. in our births she found small moments of liberation.
she’s died so many times.
i’ve died so many times.
so i listen to my mother ramble about things that I can listen to all day.
My mother thinks of her grandmother saying, “she was 80 lbs of anger and she could fight everyone. i’m not like her but i’m becoming more of a bitch these days.”
My mom mutters about an overactive mind: “movies…i kind of rerun them in my mind. so it’s hard to watch them late at night.”
My mother talks about being too messy for white culture: “i fit in to […] culture more because i’m considered by most to be too emotional.”
Me to my mom: “you need to put some cream on your legs mom they’re looking ashy.”
Mom to me: “i know but my legs break out from the vitamin-c cream i was using.”
On return to college, someone asks me: “Tell me how he died?”
I don’t want to. I want to talk about my mother. Myself:
“no. i’ll tell you how she lived.”