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Posts Tagged ‘mother’

Here’s my last week:

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Peach pickin’ kisses.

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There was a metro preacher the other day who said, “People say that you can’t cure cancer.  Cancer is a tiny virus,” he said.  “So tiny.  To God, cancer is the size of an ant.”  Considering a virus is monumentally smaller than an ant, God, in this man’s eyes, must be an itty bitty little guy.

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My mom and I broke a wish bone together this morning and I lost.  I started crying.

“Don’t worry,” she said.  “I wished for your wish to come true.”

“My wish was only to win,” I said.

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The other day, I got a fortune cookie that said, “You will stop procrastinating, starting tomorrow.”

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Triple Shot.

typewriter  736Earlier today, I sat at a table at the café right down the street.  At the table next to me a mother was reading the newspaper as her daughter, I’d age her at about six, was swinging her legs, kicking her mom’s chair.  Her mom didn’t react.  The girl said, “Mommy, what is air made of?” Without looking up, the mother said, “Nitrogen and Oxygen,” and the girl stopped kicking mommy’s chair.

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I worked in a tea house with a decent sound system in the center of campus in college and my favorite thing to do was early Monday morning, I’d play Carmina Burana as loud as it would go.

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I wonder if this ever happens:

“Honey, does this dress make me look fat?”

“Yes.  That dress makes you look fat.”

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Jackie used to always say that her mom would kill her if she got sunburnt and I thought it was cute until no, I found out it was funny because her mom was dead.

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The difference with a mid-life crisis is that you have money.  I have crises of similar proportions and all it means is that sometimes I buy a burrito.  

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Walt Whitman (1819-1892) once famously said, “DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM?!”

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When the boy would have a nightmare, his father would wake just before his hand reached the doorknob.  The boy would leave his brother sleeping soundly in their shared room, make his way up the stairs, stepping in the spots of the floor he knew not to creak, except for one, which he would hit every time, an alarm of sorts.  He would arrive at the door and just as his arm would extend, he would hear a ruffling of the sheets, his father sitting up. 

He never knew where his father had learned this, whether it be a need to protect after his mother’s hearing loss, or perhaps something left over from his time at the monastery, that when in bed with a woman, sleep cautiously. 

Some people wake up swinging.  Not his father though, not in the middle of the night, at least not for him.  After he had reached the refuge of his parents’ bed, he would watch as both would fall quickly back to sleep.  Throughout the night, he would have the urge to nudge his father, not to wake him, but just to keep him sleeping lightly, in case the zombies congregating below ever figured out how to climb stairs. 

But his father never needed the nudge.  He knew he woke to his nightmares, or his brother sneaking his way into the kitchen, climbing the freezer shelves of the side-by-side to steal the ice cream sandwiches stored up top.

Later on, he knew his father woke to his brother skateboarding down the street, graffiti cans tucked into cargo pockets, or to his high school girlfriends’ desperate three a.m. phone calls.

            

He wondered why there was movement in the house.   He went to the kitchen to find his father suiting up for the cold weather, 3:30 a.m. glowing from the digital oven clock, and all the family dogs excitedly, but patiently waiting at his father’s feet, looking to him. 

His father asked if he’d like to join him.

Molly, the mother of the other two dogs, was found in a forest preserve, years before, during a camping trip of the boy’s uncle.  No one knows how long she survived on her own, but just that she did, and after his uncle gave her to his grandmother, she started gaining weight.  Healthy, his grandmother thought.  And then she gained more weight and more and in one particular area.  The black lab who grew up hunting prey was now a domesticated, bowl-fed, city dog, mother of 10 mutt babies, not one resembling a second. 

Back in the forest, she was in her element.  Her eyes quickly adjusted to the pitch black ahead of them.  The boy could scarcely see his own hand.  Molly’s daughters happily stayed heeling by the father’s side as Molly ruffled the bushes all around them.  At one point, the ruffling stopped, the night clearer as the boy’s pupils grew.  Molly fell quiet and all followed suit.  Quickly she dashed off the trail and into the forest, her daughters excitedly nipping at her side.  All three disappeared.

The father and the boy had been quiet.  The father broke the silence to tell his son to sit.  The father told his son of how he likes to come out at the night’s darkest hour, that at first, everything is clouded in blackness, and as he walks further into it, everything opens to clarity, slowly at first, and then more rapidly.  As they sat, what once was nothingness now became the texture of tree-bark, the dampness of morning leaves, the stillness of a frightened squirrel. 

As they assimilated themselves into the quiet around us, things started moving.  A chipmunk, at first, dashing through the boy’s eye line, eventually a possum lumbering his way through last year’s fallen foliage, and finally a deer, gracefully leaping yards away, undisturbed by their presence.  It was then that the father showed him that the darkness, the unknown, the chilling quiet that surrounds him, is the actuality of life, and that simply sitting brings him to appreciate the purity and resoluteness of each passing moment. 

“Find comfort in it,” he said.

The dogs came back.  Molly, defeated at her loss of prey, and her daughters gleefully jumping beside her, thinking that this new game, “the hunt,” was even more fun than the classic, “fetch.”  Molly had chased the rabbit, it is just that her daughters had instead chased her, leaping on and into her as she pursued the now escaped meal.  Though they enjoyed it, they didn’t have a complete understanding of the game.   They came to the father’s side to tell him about their adventure and if a dog is capable of a dirty look, Molly was giving it.

As dawn approached and the sky opened and night no longer sombered each step, they turned back down the path toward the cottage.  The crunching of the leaves seemed an unwelcome companion on this walk and so the boy imagined him and his father to be Indians, sneaking through the forest, forced to quiet as if not to alert their sleeping enemies.  They must step quietly, and as such, as if to not make a single noise, the boy stepped carefully 

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Apartment in Bronxville.  Cory and Ellen.

Apartment. New York.

     In the past five years, my mother has had both knees replaced and thwarted two different cancers. When she comes to visit me, she does not get a room. She brings a sleeping bag. This is something I will always brag about.

     My mother likes to take me grocery shopping. In previous visits, she has insisted on filling my cupboards. She knows the grocery store is a mile-walk away for me and insists on packing as many heavy items into her car as possible. When we get to the health food store, I start rummaging through the organic juices. I pick out pomegranate and carrot ginger. She picks out orange.

     I read the ingredients on tea-tree essential oil skin therapy soap. She finds one that claims to be, “Ayurvedic Soap.” Its box is ma and pa. She opens it to smell.

     “What is that?” she says.

     “It must be the Mala Inchi, wild ginger.”

     “No, I mean Ayurveda.”

     “Traditional Indian medicine, ma.”

     “Let’s get these.”

     As she closes the small soapbox, she finds a thin sheet of paper. She hands it to me.

     “My Sanskrit is only so-so,” I say as she turns the sheet over.

     She reads the English translation, “‘Instructions for Usage: Apply the soap through out the body and the arms and the legs. When finished, wash all of it off. Try not to eat.’” She folds the sheet of paper and puts it into my breast pocket.

     “You’d better hold on to the directions,” she says, “for later.”

     After we park, she struggles with the hill up to my apartment. I insist on carrying the bags full of bottles. She resigns herself.

     “You’re not so big, you know.” She stops to catch her breath.

     “You go ahead.” “I can wait.”

     “No, go ahead. I like to check out that rump of yours.”

As I walk ahead to unlock the door, I military-press the juice bottles over my head and lift them over and again to prove that, indeed, I am so big.

     “You remember, boy,” she says, “you came from me.”

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