solo te haces menos
by The Dreamer
solo te haces menos.
“do you know what it means?”
“it’s spanish, i know. but i don’t do spanish.”
“it means that it’s not other people who make you feel like you’re alone. you do it to yourself.”
in my memory, my mother never had a face. i remembered with vividness the clothes that she wore to work, especially this zebra-striped blouse that was slightly silky. i remembered her cologne when she hugged me close and said goodbye. i remembered my feet dangling from her queen-sized bed as i held onto my stuffed bear and watched her put her face on.
but her face, that i don’t remember.
i kept my aunt’s passport photo in my wallet and told other children in my class that she was my mother because, at that time, i had thought that my aunt was prettier.
in truth, it was because i never truly bothered looking at my mother’s face.
i think my mother knew the word sacrifice well. when she quit her job, in spite of how painstakingly hard she slogged her guts to reach the top, that was sacrifice. when she learned how to drive, in spite of crying silently in trembling anger because the instructors were masochistic shits, that was sacrifice. when she gave up her childhood to be the surrogate mother for her younger siblings because my grandma was working hard to earn a second income, that was sacrifice.
now, when i look at my mother, i think to myself: all this while, the past nineteen years, how could you not see her beauty?
maybe, the real truth was that she was always too beautiful to look at.
my great-grandmother beckons me over and makes me sit beside her. i don’t actually fancy physical affection very much, but she’s the exception.
i sling an arm over her shoulders and i feel her bones jutting into my skin. she’s getting more fragile with age and it pains me to even think of that.
silently, she holds out my hand and stuffs two ten-dollar bills between my fingers. “shh,” she whispers conspiringly. “i won forty dollars in the lottery today. this is your share.”
“this is my share?” i chortle. “i haven’t done anything.”
i wasn’t totally ok with the gambling thing, but it makes her happy, so.
“you ask too many questions, just take it.”
“thank you,” i squeeze her tightly, then lessen my hold a little, because i’m genuinely scared she might break.
“the past few days, you’ve been busy?” she asks me.
“yeah, going out with friends for dinner.” i say, flashing an apologetic smile.”
“because of you, i’ve been walking around with dollar bills tucked in the waistband of my pants for four days straight.”
i laugh, but my lungs feel kind of blocked.
“i’ve missed you a lot. come see your old great-grandmother more often, okay? when i die, i won’t be able to see you anymore.” her blue eyes are swimming a bit. i’ve always been very fascinated by her eyes, but that night i couldn’t bear to look into them.
“don’t say that.” i scold, and tears well up uncontrollably in my eyes.
i still feel like crying whenever i think about this.
i confess to my friends that i’ve never been very good at dealing with sadness. not my own, definitely not with the sadness of others. feelings are kind of like hands. you never know where to put them.
there are so many sad people these days.
but sadness is too personal and trying to interpret them in my own terms seems almost illegal, like i might misunderstand or mistranslate and make things worse.
after all, i look back on my past posts in my phase of sadness, and i still can’t figure out what overwhelmed me at that point of time.
we’re sitting in a far corner in the library, reading to each other children’s books in our best storyteller voices.
i feel so, so light, like i could just jump and i would float to the ceiling. it’s truly an amazing feeling. i’ve been feeling a lot of this lately.
is this what it feels like to be on a permanent high? i’m digging it.