Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breaking out of a bag

Large orange jacket.
He is visibly warm.
Too warm.
He starts to fiddle as soon as he sits.
He takes off his yellow tinted sunglasses.
They are connected to a yellow rubber strap that I suppose he bought so that he can wear the yellow tinted sunglasses around his neck like a librarian when he tires of seeing yellow.
He opens his black backpack and gets a plastic bag out.
There seems to be mail in the plastic bag.
Maybe junk mail as he seems impatient and unaffected by the contents.
The bag gets rolled back up.
More discomfort.
He takes the yellow tinted sunglasses off of his neck.
He roots around in his backpack for another plastic bag unearthing another pair of yellow tinted sunglasses and puts them on.
I wonder how many plastic bags are in that backpack.
I imagine a life organized by plastic bags.
I think of the growing number of plastic bags under my sink.
The first pair of yellow tinted sunglasses, strap and all, go sloppily into the plastic bag.
Another yellow strap gets pulled out of a different pocket in the backpack but is not used for the sunglasses.
More discomfort.
Only two stops until we have to get out and be in the cold weather to change trains.
He takes off his large orange coat and wraps the second yellow strap around it.
Tieing it up like a sleeping bag.
At this point he seems very pleased with himself for the first time.
He is feeling the satisfaction of his efficiency.
He pops his collar and looks around.
No one else is excessively warm on the train.
His darting eyes don't meet anyone else's in agreement.
He would probably strip down to nothing if he could.
He may or may not have enough yellow straps to bind up the rest of his clothing and
I have never felt so still.

The first day of the rest of our lives

The man at the hospital.
Not a woman like I initially thought.
Asked me about my shoes that he thought were Keds.
My grey Chuck Taylors.
I told him they were comfortable and he said he could tell.
I liked him so much even before he spoke to me.
If I were old I would have liked him to be my husband.
Flannel wearing.
Lots of grey hair and a small, kind face.
He looked like the character in a page of my childhood jumbo coloring book about a safety dog.
He wore large white tennis shoes.
Much too large for how slight he was.
He was waiting to get chemo.
But no one seemed to realize he was there.
He was used to getting his treatment on a different floor.
Only his regular doctor wasn't in.
I wanted to make sure he was taken care of.
Much like I would if we were married.
He was the husband of my future self.
I would have put him in my pocket and taken him everywhere with me.
I worried about him all day.
My mother and I went to a different hospital room and played a hundred rounds of UNO.
When we returned and passed the waiting room the man was gone.
I should have spoken to him more.
I hope that he was taken care of that day and for the rest of his life.
I felt so close to him.
He was alone without me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hace frio at Grandma's

Seventh grade.
Rice and bean soup.
Vests with turtlenecks.
Neutrals, forest green and burgundy.
Grandma watching her novellas.
Me doing math homework in that impossibly small dining area.
Windows with thin curtains.
Yellow and white flowered.
"Come, come!"
Eat, eat.
Waiting for daddy to pull up in the strawberry red truck.
The color I insisted on.
I never felt like I knew her.
I never felt like she knew me.
Even as I sat in the next room.
"Bitch! Estupida! Aye dios mio!"
"Shit, man."
She is so short.
The house cluttered but immaculate.
I stare too long at the trinkets in the bathroom upstairs.
The room across the hall has a blood red bed in it.
A doll on top wears a blood red dress.
A small bed.
I imagine my father and my two uncles sharing it.
Why is there so much carpet in the bathroom?
So plush.
Soap shells and marbelized mirrors.
Teeth in a jar in the medicine cabinet.
I just prayed the toilet would never overflow.
I would hug it and then run before I ever saw the water rise.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Something in the Way

She's different in the way she moves.
More like I remember Great Aunt Kitty to move.
She plays a lot with what is left of her hair.
Twirling strands around her fingers.
Brittle and frizzy.
They fall down along her neckline.
She brushes them away and pulls her bandana closer to her brow.
Premature age spots sprinkle her hands.
I wonder if I'll ever chase her to the front door or twirl her hair into a giant knotted mess again.
She was always plump.
Now she cannot accept my kisses because they are full of sickness.
I turn away from her worried that I might blow her over with my breath.
I pet her stomach.
It was emptied.
I remind her that I was pulled from that very place.
She nods.
Sometimes when she touches my hair I dream of crawling back in.
I'm far past her nose night, my old marker of progress.
I was excited to surpass her.
Tower over her, though I'm not ready to let her lay in my lap.
I'm not ready.
My legs are not full enough.
Not pale enough, not stubby.
We'll lay next to each other instead and wait.
She's tired.
We should take a nap but I don't want to waste this time.
I know she's sleeping when she begins to coo like a newborn.
I've been told that I talk in my sleep.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

There's always room

My mom would sometimes make JELLO chocolate pudding for my sister and I as a treat.
Much like many things way back when in the 80's (I'm thinking about things like Chex Mix and Rice Krispie treats) we would do the little required to make these treats ourselves, or rather, my mother would make them for us.
My mother wore creamy yellow sweat pants.
She often wore sweat pants and a sweatshirt, not matching, and I don't seem to recall her ever taking part in an activity that purposefully made her sweat.
My mother would stir the very few ingredients with a wooden spoon into a stainless steel large bowl, just balancing the bowl on her crotch while lying on the couch.
Her eyes would be fixed on the television, a multi-tasker.
And this day she did just that, stirred the ingredients with the wooden spoon into the stainless steel large bowl, just balancing the bowl on her crotch while lying on the couch.
But on this day she lost the balance and dropped much of the stirred contents on the crotch of her creamy yellow sweatpants.
Weirdly enough I don't remember me or my sister's reaction to the news.
My mother scraped the bulk of the pudding off of her crotch and back into the bowl and served it to us.
My sister and I ate the pudding happily and declared it "PeePee Pudding".