Since the hellhound was taken away from me, I have come to understand the necessity and value of dependence. I listened to a man speak of an oxcart. He said it is easier to push one, than it is to think about it. I agreed, without fully grasping what he meant then, or now. What I did comprehend, was enough for me to feel satisfied with his teachings. Then, I thought about getting an oxcart, but I wouldn’t know where to buy one.
I will always need something, even when I have an abundance of what I demand. This is how I came into the world. A slight bruise on the brain, caused by mother’s sharp ribs. I long for it all. I guard what I have, and yearn for what I do not. There is a part of me forever aching at the hands of melancholia, debilitated by calling out to what will not respond.
I no longer hide behind ten glasses of wine. My skirts have all been lengthened. I do not believe the answers are found in the words of a man. My mother’s eyes are no longer a glowing red. My father’s power was taken by the thunderstorm. I can see how far I’ve come, just as I see how far I need to go.
I still hold formal conferences with the ghosts inside my head. They convincingly argue that I would be lost without them. We are divided by my need to evolve, which would not be possible without their definite dismissal. But I am so completely defined by the rituals performed during the twilight hours, with them by my side. In between softly sung chants, I tell myself it is better to never touch the heights of success. It is better to remain lost in the thickets of despair. Because if I am above ground, if I find that I take flight, not a one can guarantee that I will not eventually fall.
Desire hangs heavy in the air, obscuring a scattering of stars. Not my own desire. Someone wants me close. Mother told me that when she was still in the womb, grandfather heard her weep. This was a sign that she would develop the ability to prophesy. And because she is in possession of the gift of prescience, it was passed on to me. I am skeptical, as much as I need to be. Yet, something inside me speaks, and says I will meet a man during my Victim’s Assistance Training, despite the program attracting more women.
It is never the same, we notice, after an eventful full moon. We have trouble believing we will adapt to the changes, though it happens quite naturally. Then comes another full moon, bringing in just as many new developments. Again, we meet these with resistance. We are a stupid lot, spinning in invisible wheels.
If it seems that I lack sincerity when speaking of love, it is only because I no longer know where to place it. It is above a letter, or it crosses and completes one. It is underneath each sentence, blanketed by nonsensical expressions. It holds two swords, aiming for a major artery.
It does not take much time, before everything begins to blur at the edges. Moments that brought happiness, lose their shape, and quickly blend with yesterday’s laments. There are people that produce an overwhelming sense of love within us, and as immediately as it comes, it goes. What is chrysanthemums and maudlin poetry during the storm, morphs into time wasted on a man with a wrecked mind. The letters mother wrote to father, when distance separated them, and the longing for an embrace turned into a desperate terror, did nothing for her. What was given in return was not emotion, but fists and bullets. Oh, father. Oh, mother. Your blood is my blood, my bones are your bones. I keep your story, but I can no longer live it. I have all the things, ugly as they are, to write my own.
The hours are once counted in childlike anticipation. When the leaves change color, attention to numbers is given to pills. Look at the rope, is it strong enough to hold your weight? Is it possible to undo the understanding that drove away those that swore to remain by your side? And now, it is about everyone else. Contemplating foreign misery, recognizing we are all vagabonds with dirty faces, but I have not yet reached those depths. I see though, I see the similarities. Look at our fucked, little heads. We have the tremors, so we cannot draw straight lines.
I am Narcissus wearing a gown of pure golden joy, celebrating that the fidelity to my own reflection has produced results. My image has come to life, in male form. He rejects the hand I extend, and runs off to find another who is nothing like us. He screams to me, I know your name, but it will not pass through my lips. Meanwhile, my refusal to pronounce his name is done out of shame. It is done to conceal a slight, Spanish lisp that will forever live on my tongue.
The dream that felt real, quickly becomes a fading dot. I am glad for this.
Father works, as he always has. He was born working, yet has little to show for it. The whites of his eyes have been lost to red. They are not breaths he takes, but sighs. When he walks, it is as if he is being very careful not to drop whatever pride remains. There is a sense of defeat that he battles with, and I wonder when he will lose.
It surprises me that something so pronounced, so unmistakable, was often overlooked by me. My obedience to self-absorption has led to many mistakes. It is crushing to recognize how many I have hurt, in the process of undoing my own hurt. It was important for me to understand why so much had happened, to understand things, that I forgot how to understand people.
My mother loved to wear long skirts, when I was just a little thing. It would hide her heels, and create the illusion that her height was not borrowed. I would take shelter under the layers. Through the giggles and the tugs, she did not mind. On weekends, I would go for a ride in father’s car. He would drive for hours, until we were both tired of daydreaming.
Bang, Margaret. One year ago, I made sure you would never evolve past a clump of cells. You are twelve months cold. Whatever part of me continues to believe in a soul, knows yours will not keep watch over me, for much longer. It was never you who needed protection. It was always me.
Angelina held my hand today, as we walked Ruey. Her pace was slower than my own, which held me back from moving at the speed I am accustomed to. This should have been nothing more than a mild inconvenience. Instead, I looked ahead at the cars on the road. I panicked as I saw forward progression. People advanced, they evolved. I am trapped.
I love this child, as if she were my very own, but I cannot handle the responsibilities of motherhood. The sacrifices I am making for my nieces are not noble. They are unfair, substantial, and asphyxiating.
Jackie has suggested that I hold a symbolic funeral for Margaret. I say, there is no guilt behind the decision I made. It is not the cells that need to be buried. Those were disposed of, appropriately and satisfactorily. What I cannot forgive, is the mistakes I make, when correcting them does not come with ease, when they cause so much pain. I am culpable of being human. Something I still reject.
Mother is very young, breathtakingly beautiful. She carries me down a poorly lit neighborhood. I am sleepy, and my head rests comfortably on her shoulder. Her scent is comforting. We are headed toward a bar. Mother is going to meet someone there. She mentions his name under her breath. It is not father. A cloud of cigarette smoke welcomes us inside. Men say terrible things to her, and I don’t know what any of it means, only that it upsets mother. That is all I remember.