Maybe I stepped into the skin my mother left behind, and became the girl my mother had been, the one she still wanted to be. Maybe I was wearing her youth now like an airy scarf, an accessory, all bright nerves and sticky pearls, and maybe that’s why she spent so much time staring at me with that wistful look in her eyes. I was wearing something of hers, something she wanted back. It was written all over her face.
Since I’ve been home I’ve been trying hard to mend my relationship with my mother. Asking her to do things for me instead of brushing aside any offer of help, as I did for years out of anger. Letting her handle all the money I won. Returning her hugs instead of tolerating them. My time in the arena made me realize how I needed to stop punishing her for something she couldn’t help, specifically the crushing depression she fell into after my father’s death. Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.
Is Lisa going to the prom?'I shelved my worries for the moment. 'I don't know, Mom. We don't talk about the You-Know-What. We made a pact.'You could go together, if you didn't want to mess with dates and things.'I don't want to mess with the prom at all, Mom.'She ignored me, placidly eating popcorn, piece by piece.'Some girls in my high school class did that and had a wonderful time. They weren't lesbians or anything. Not that it would matter if they were.'That's nice, Mom. I'm glad you're so open-minded.' I grabbed my Coke and the popcorn bowl and headed for the stairs, because I could go my whole life without ever hearing my mother talk about lesbians again.Maybe you could take Justin to the prom,' she called after me, laughter in her voice. 'He is such a hottie.'Shoot me now.
I'd wrestled against the inner voice of my mother, the voice of caution, of duty, of fear of the unknown, the voice that said the world was dangerous and safety was always the first measure and that often confused pleasure with danger, the mother who had, when I'd moved to the city, sent me clippings about young women who were raped and murdered there, who elaborated on obscure perils and injuries that had never happened to her all her life, and who feared mistakes even when the consequences were minor. Why go to Paradise when the dishes aren't done? What if the dirty dishes clamor more loudly than Paradise?
When my friends began to have babies and I came to comprehend the heroic labor it takes to keep one alive, the constant exhausting tending of a being who can do nothing and demands everything, I realized that my mother had done all of these things for me before I remembered. I was fed; I was washed; I was clothed; I was taught to speak and given a thousand other things, over and over again, hourly, daily, for years. She gave me everything before she gave me nothing.
Whilst writing all this, I have had in my mind a woman, whose strong and serious mind would not have failed to support me in these contentions. I lost her thirty years ago [I was a child then]--nevertheless, ever living in my memory, she follows me from age to age.She suffered with me in my poverty, and was not allowed to share my better fortune. When young, I made her sad, and now I cannot console her. I know not even where her bones are: I was too poor then to buy earth to bury her!And yet I owe her much. I feel deeply that I am the son of woman. Every instant, in my ideas and words [not to mention my features and gestures], I find again my mother in myself. It is my mother's blood which gives me the sympathy I feel for bygone ages, and the tender remembrance of all those who are now no more.What return then could I, who am myself advancing towards old age, make her for the many things I owe her? One, for which she would have thanked me--this protest in favour of women and mothers.
Sometimes, she wondered what she was missing, if her life was somehow incomplete because she didn't see the reflection of her face in the face of a son or daughter. Maybe. That's what mothers told her: Oh, you don't know what you're missing; it's spiritual; I feel closer to the earth, to the creator of all things. Perhaps all of that was true--it must be true--but Grace also knew that mothering was work, was manual labor, and unpaid manual labor at that. She'd known too many women who'd vanished after childbirth; women whose hopes and fears had been pushed to the back of the family closet; women who'd magically been replaced by their children and their children's desires.
I imagined my coffin being closed, and the screws being turned. I was immobile, but I was alive, and I wanted to tell my family that I was seeing everything. I wanted to tell them all that I loved them, but not a sound came out of my mouth. My father and mother were weeping, my wife and my friends were gathered around, but I was completely alone! With all of the people dear to me standing there, no one was able to see that I was alive and that I had not yet accomplished all that I wanted to do in this world. I tried desperately to open my eyes, to give a sign, to beat on the lid of the coffin. But I could not move any part of my body. I felt the coffin being carried toward the grave. I could hear the sound of the handles grinding against their fittings, the steps of those in the procession, and conversations from this side and that. Someone said that he had a date for dinner later on, and another observed that I had died early. The smell of flowers all around me began to suffocate me. I remembered how I had given up trying to establish a relationship with two or three women, fearing their rejection. I remembered also the number of times I had failed to do what I wanted to do, thinking I could always do it later. I felt very sorry for myself, not only because I was about to be buried alive but also because I had been afraid to live. Why be fearful of saying no to someone or of leaving something undone when the most important thing of all was to enjoy life fully? There I was, trapped in a coffin, and it was already too late to go back and show the courage I should have had. There I was, having played the role of my own Judas, having betrayed myself. There I was, powerless to move a muscle, screaming for help, while the others were involved in their lives, worrying about what they were going to do that night, admiring statues and buildings that I would never see again. I began to feel how unfair it was to have to be buried while others continued to live. I would have felt better if there had been a catastrophe and all of us had been in the same boat, heading for the same abyss toward which they were carrying me now. Help! I tried to cry out. I’m still alive. I haven’t died. My mind is still functioning! They placed my coffin at the edge of the grave. They are going to bury me! My wife is going to forget all about me; she will marry someone else and spend the money we have struggled to save for all these years! But who cares about that. I want to be with her now, because I’m alive! I hear sobs, and I feel tears falling from my eyes, too. If my friends were to open my coffin now, they would see my tears and save me. But instead all I feel is the lowering of the coffin into the ground. Suddenly, everything is dark. A moment ago, there was a ray of light at the edge of the coffin, but now the darkness is complete. The grave diggers’ shovels are filling in the grave, and I’m alive! Buried alive! I sense that the air is being cut off, and the fragrance of the flowers is awful. I hear the mourners’ departing footsteps. My terror is total. I’m not able to do anything; if they go away now, it will soon be night, and no one will hear me knocking on the lid of my coffin! The footsteps fade, nobody hears my screams, and I am alone in the darkness; the air is heavy, and the smell of the flowers is driving me crazy. Suddenly, I hear a sound. It’s the worms, coming to eat me alive. I try with all my strength to move the parts of my body, but I am inert. The worms begin to climb over my body. They are sticky and cold. They creep over my face and crawl into my shorts. One of them enters through my anus, and another begins to sneak into a nostril. Help! I’m being eaten alive, and nobody can hear me; nobody says a word to me. The worm that entered my nostril has reached my throat. I feel another invading my ear. I have to get out! Where is God; why doesn’t he help me? They are beginning to eat at my throat, and soon I won’t be able to scream! They
My mother said the bizarre name Raccoona had surely been inspired, at least on a subliminal level, by the masks raccoons don't wear but simply have - the ones given them by nature..... [S]he pointed out that Le Guin had suspected all along that Raccoona and Tiptree were two authors that came from the same source, but in a letter to Alice she wrote that she preferred Tiptree to Raccoona: 'Raccoona, I think, has less control, thus less wit and power.'Le Guin, Mother said, had understood something deep. 'When you take on a male persona, something happens.'When I asked her what that was, she sat back in her chair, waved her arm, and smiled. 'You get to be the father.
I'm sorry you don't like coming back here," her mother often said, to cap whatever petty dust-up they'd had. How could Emily explain: it wasn't her mother or Kersey she'd disowned, but her earlier self, that strange, ungrateful girl who strove to be first at everything and threw tantrums when she failed.
She had not told her mother about Denys, but she had a suspicion that Mrs. Shannon knew all about it nevertheless. It was unlike her not to want to satisfy her curiosity when she came upon her daughter sobbing in various parts of the house. She had asked no questions; she had simply donned the role of the heavily understanding mother, and had done a lot of shoulder-patting and given Mary an expensive evening dress from the shop. Mary had no idea how she knew, but was certain that if she had not known she would never have rested until she did.
As a mother I see the future in the present. Every little thing she does or says makes me form a hypothesis of how she will see life and treat others in 20 years. So I plan for how amazing she will be now. Instead of living my life I have to live hers. Some may not understand how important it is to be a parent. How present, efficient, selfless, and imaginative you must be. But I do. I only pray that this little face is stronger than I am and more successful for this world and the next. I chase her butterflies. She was created from scratch and presented as a gift from God. She will never roam free, unattended and unloved.
I could no longer remember the way my mother's eyes looked before the slowing. Had they always been so red around the edges? Surely, those pockets of gray beneath her lower lashes were new. She still wasn't sleeping well, but perhaps what I was seeing was just age, a gradual shift that I'd failed to register. I sometimes felt the urge to study recent photographs of her in order to locate the exact point in time when she had come to look so weary.
I would take them a few times, feel my emotions and sense of reality fuzz, and look at my mother who had been doped up on them since we moved to Chattanooga. I would see her blank, hazel eyes, and her bright, but empty, smile with chronic, artificial, exaggerated cheer, and become scared. I often wondered if she was buried under layers upon layers of southern sugar. I would make bitchy, inappropriate statements and look for her. I would say something, anything to shake her and look into her eyes for something real. I saw it when she was upset or afraid. I saw it when she’d spot me exiting my bathroom, hair tied back, knowing what I’d done. I saw it when she found out I was raped. I saw it when I told her about the drugs I used. I saw flickers of a real person, but she quickly disappeared within herself once she gathered composure. I decided not to be like her. Even if it meant embracing my demons, I wanted to be real. After a couple doses, I would toss the meds in the garbage.
As I saw it, all my mother's life, my father held her down, like lead strapped to her ankles.She wasbuoyant by nature;she wanted to travel,go to the theater, go to museums.What he wantedwas to lie on the couchwith the Timesover his face,so that death, when it came,wouldn't seem a significant change.
I adore my mother, but I fear for her. She seems helpless, caught in the vortex of my father's dark moods and unpredictable behavior. I try never to displease her. I love the scent of Juicy Fruit gum on her breath and the hint of Joy perfume on her neck, the crisp crinkle of her hair stiff with aerosol spray and the chipped pink polish on her nails.
When I think of Tomodachi, I think of your mother. Your mother, she too lose her baby. She lose you. That very sad thing for her. Maybe she come looking, and she not find you. You not there when she come. She think you dead for ever. But she see you in her mind. Now as I speak maybe she see you in her mind. You always there. I know. I have son too. I have Michiya. He always in my head. Like Kimi. They dead for sure, but they in my head. They in my head forever.
I never saw my mother happy with me and proud of me for doing something: She only knew me as being a wild kid running the streets, coming home with new clothes that she knew I didn't pay for. I never got a chance to talk to her or know about her. Professionally, it has no effect, but it's crushing emotionally and personally.