Know where I am?
Hawaii. On Christmas vacation paid for by my mom.
And so much has been happening,
So much has happened, and yet,
I can’t bring myself to write about it just now,
Because there’s palm trees out there
And water and sun.
So I’ll sit and watch this dragonfly a little longer.
He didn’t tell me he had kids,
And do I get involved? Knowing either he’s a poor father?
Or he’s a good father, and he’s been hiding it from me.
I think I have to see where it goes.
Suddenly all the big little faults seem worse,
I read dirty poems on the plane ride,
The whole time hoping the woman next to me couldn’t make out any words on my screen.
Like Please or Master,
Perl or Sweet.
So I switched to trying to sleep,
Alternating between playing music and how long can my battery last.
I accomplish nothing on plane rides.
Did you know you can get constipated from stress?
You think it was the travelling to my mother’s house?
Then to Hawaii for Christmas to meet with relatives.
My money problems?
Putting my grandmother in hospice care?
Having to hear my mother tell me she doesn’t want her to go.
What do you say to that?
I’m not asking you, I’m asking God.
What do you tell your mother when she says,
“I don’t want my mom to go?”
I want an answer.
Why isn’t she dead already so we can start grieving?
She’s not capable of handling it.
She doesn’t have enough unselfish juice to take care of other people,
It has to rebound onto someone else.
Here she is telling me,
It was so hard.
Like I don’t know.
Like I haven’t seen this before.
How do I have sympathy for this woman, my sister, who had to take care of my mom taking care of her mom for three days?
That’s it. Three days.
It was so hard. Why aren’t we more sympathetic towards her?
The kindness isn’t there. I keep looking, hoping to find somewhere, that caring.
But instead I find anger directed toward whoever is present. Me.
She will never see it as anything other than relating to her needs.
I need to stop judging her for what she can’t do.
We’re going to talk about it for a minute.
No one gave me a sex talk.
My mom says she gave me one.
I went through sex ed in a conservative Christian school,
So sex was evil and you were going to hell.
I was told I was a piece of scotch tape,
The first time mattered, but if you keep sticking that piece over and over on your skin it didn’t hurt anymore, you weren’t worth as much. As a woman. Because your tape lost it’s ability to pull hair off your arm.
I had a beer with my friend yesterday,
She hasn’t talked to anyone. She says she’ll research it online.
I told her to see an OBGYN, they are there to treat you like a sheep. Ask the questions, they won’t judge you for it, they’ve seen weirder. You are a number. It’s perfect.
Why are women allowed to have painful, uncomfortable experiences because no tells them it shouldn’t hurt?
Why did the woman teaching high schoolers sex ed not know that oral can transfer stds?
What is so wrong about facts and information?
It’s my body. Tell me about it’s bones and what they do.
About it’s blood flows and cycles.
Tell me that it’s okay I don’t want to be on birth control.
Tell me it’s okay that I don’t want to be regulated.
Tell me it’s okay that I don’t like tampons,
Cups, or iuds,
Shaving my bikini line or the hair on my toes,
Tell me it’s okay to be unsure about being confident.
I’m a failure and I’m breaking down.
I can’t keep working this job.
But I can’t apply, it’s so hard for me to apply.
I can’t keep living with my sister.
I can’t keep avoiding getting a higher ed degree.
I want a house to put my stuff.
Magically, mystically I want to not work and have money.
I’m just so tired.
But I don’t have references because I’m too shy and scared to ask.
This old cycle, I’ve been here before.
Hello old friend. Glad you’re back.
Take the place of dying relatives and alcoholic aunts.
She said he raised a fist at her,
After telling her to mind her own business,
He has a point,
But at age 67 you’d think he’d be able to regulate emotions,
And say what he needs to say without yelling.
He’s incapable of understanding other people have feelings.
I just avoid him now. I take an active indifference for the years of pain he caused me.
But he threatened to hit my sister, I didn’t see it.
And she was furious.
She was more mad that mom wasn’t on her side.
I found it,
I was sitting with mom and my sister and her husband at a pie restaurant.
I was upset we had to wait an extra thirty minutes.
I was being quiet. Trying to be contained,
And they mocked me for it.
Mocked my feelings.
Teasing me, taking pictures, telling me to make that face again it would make a good meme.
Mom didn’t say anything.
She said I was “in a bad mood” and being a “bee-bee” because she wouldn’t say bitch.
My sister would make faces and say, “don’t take my head off”
Anytime I show any negative emotions.
Somehow when I’m upset I get mocked, but when anyone else is upset they get avoided and respected.
Just because you think it’s a silly thing to be upset about.
This right here. This is why I can’t share how I feel.
And she did this to me.
I just hadn’t seen it in such a long time. It took me a minute to recognize it.
I needed to rage at god and no one was available.
I had to the apartment to myself, an opportunity to get drunk,
And no one returned my call.
I wanted to be mad at god for dementia,
For airplane turbulence and grief,
And I didn’t have any friends.
So I sat by myself on the computer.
While I packed, and daydreamed about how excited my mom would be if I were pregnant.
Let’s go find lunch.
Like it’s hiding in the bushes,
Like it will appear if we can seek it out.
If we say the right incantation, poof, it appears.
Only a few of a restaurants have it.
This lunch thing.
You must find it first.
Find my lost lunch.
Is it in my bag?
On the grass?
In my hat?
I don’t know. We must seek it out.
What is this hope of new romance?
Aren’t we too practical for this nonsense?
Here I am talking to my friend on the phone while I’m wandering my room,
Folding laundry, cricking my neck, friend in my ear,
What are you supposed to do on a third date?
She googled what to expect.
She says it’s going well.
That he’s shy, so each time she learns something new.
And she likes him.
And he likes her.
I tell her that’s great. I’m so happy for her.
Even if they can only meet at weird times because he works the night-shift.
I tell her I went dancing, and ate pho with a new boy.
I like him I think.
Like the nervous you get when you know a painting is going well,
You don’t want to ruin it.
So you proceed very slowly,
And try and shush down the hope and the future plans your brain has decided to spring on you.
I play a video and get told to use headphones.
But they can talk and make tea unencumbered.
I am the one to subdue because I am the interloper,
The quiet person who pays rent, and won’t be staying,
Don’t make room on the bathroom counter,
Or in your daily routine.
Let us find a box for you and your things.
I haven’t applied for new jobs.
I think about it, and chicken out.
I get home and cry because I have no energy left.
I can do it on the weekend.
Yet here I am.
Trying and failing to make a list of what I need to get done.
Here is this woman,
This wonderful woman,
Sitting across from me, sipping her cider with spices,
In a black coffee mug,
Snacking on Norwegian wreath cookies,
Telling me about what she studies,
With passion in her voice, and no shame.
She’s telling me engagements are different in Egypt,
In her culture,
Because there is no premarital sex,
They are often shorter,
But also less serious.
It is not a sure thing, once you’ve been engaged.
But the man is still expected to provide financially,
Basically afford a flat,
So the time engaged depends on money more than anything else,
And the expense of the wedding.
She doesn’t get to tell me more,
I have to drive the people who invited me along home,
And I think,
We could have been friends.
Those funny, subtle shifts, of timing, friends, and circumstance.
We should be friends.
I want to hear about her fiancé, who cannot see.
I want to hear about growing up in Britain,
I want another chance from fate, to sit down in a green plush chair caddy-corner to her,
And hear more about life, from someone else.
The boys I meet now,
I cannot just trust my own opinion,
I use the other people’s voices in my head as counterbalance.
What would my mom say of this person?
Would my best friend turn up her nose?
If I introduced him to my people,
Would he fit in?
This is what I ask myself,
Because, suddenly, my own opinion needs bolstering,
And my own thoughts need support braces.
Here I am in the car again, so I can talk privately.
Yes, I’m cold, but I can’t be overheard.
I made it home from the party okay.
I got pretty claustrophobic, but I made it out.
No, I don’t know why I still talk to you either,
I think you’ve always known you liked me more than I liked you.
I’m hanging on now because of my abandonment issues.
I will leave you once I find someone better,
You know it. I warned you. I gave you a chance to stake a claim.
I think I’m your out too,
I give you someone to think about when you’re tired and lonely,
Which is better than nothing from afar without your glasses on.
Hello, it is I,
The person hiding in the tread of your shoes,
Congratulations, I have finally shrunk to the size you think I need to be,
Leave me alone now please.
Let me do things wrong or right in my own way,
Way down here,
Out of your notice.
Let me fail, please, without commentary,
It’s so hard to keep my shields up at full maximum for so long,
To repeal all the insults, jokes, teasing, and jibes, that I can and could do better, if only.
She says she only wants to date,
She’s not taking care of anyone.
So many men, she tells me,
At that age, are only looking for someone to take care of them.
She’s done that already.
But who will take care of her, I wonder to myself,
But her mind and body are good,
So maybe, she takes care of her.
A nice thought.
I can think to myself,
People are all the same,
As often as I want.
But when I was driving in Texas after the snowfall,
No one slowed down over the bridges.
When I called my friend to tell him how to steer out of a fishtail,
He ignored me,
I have front-wheel drive he said.
No one here knows how to use defrosters.
And again, I had those stranger’s thoughts.
I don’t fit in.
I have no home to go back to.