*EDIT-this was the writing exercise we did in my writing class that I referred to in my post entitled “Opportunities for growth”… so this piece is a work in progress buuttttt, this is where it is right now. I’ll repost the final draft after its been sussed out a bit. But I thought it would be good for me to share something that I really struggled in creating at that particular class, just to teach my ego to sit its ass down and shut up…
It strikes me how you always say there’s something in your eye when I catch you crying. Even as a child after long knock-down-drag-out arguments with Dad in person or over the phone, I’d see tears, I’d feel the heaviness expanding in the air around me, and before I was even able to ask what happened or what was happening, you would say, reflex-like, theatrical, “There’s something in my eye!”. Your eyes, hazel and mysterious, with deep brown borders and yellowy green around the pupil, the longer you look, the more light green and gold you see, but you never let anyone look very long.
You stand, shoulders slumped, with a heavy sadness, apologizing for the space you take up, as if your existence is a shameful sin of sorts, and I wonder what has happened to you long before you pushed me out of you.
You are a bird with a hurt wing. You flit about the kitchen, throwing this and that into one of our two juicers, slicing and dicing, mixing and fixing, as if standing still might actually hurt.
And I suppose maybe it does hurt. I am frozen, and I burn.
I hug you.
These days, your shirts smell like garlic and warm earthy spices from your labors in the kitchen, cooking me mushrooms and green leafy things to keep my health. NED-“No Evidence of Disease” is what’s written on my chart, this status, a relief and a threat to us both, and I realize that you’ve had cancer too, right alongside me, and yet you never tire of chop-chop-chopping my vegetables and pressing them into our juicers to keep me healthy. 64 ounces of carrot juice a day. You take 2 sips for yourself.
I wish there was someone around to take care of you the way you’ve been taking care of me since April 11th, the day my ears went numb from the voice on the phone and you grabbed life’s steering wheel from my fragile shaking hands. If I could bring Grandma back for you, I would; I know she’d be chop-chop-chopping away with you to lighten our load, your load, everything to do with me lately. I’ll admit, I’m not used to being the needy one. And yet lately, I come ill-equipped for the tasks of the day on most days. The energy supply that I would channel toward making you and others believe I was well has vanished without a trace. In its place, a rawness like oozing flesh. I want to tell you I’m sorry, but it seems my voice has vanished too.
You grind the bitter green dandelion root in the slow masticating juicer, sweat hanging in the hair by your neck that has fallen out of your ponytail. The kitchen shrouded in the familiar smells of the sweet and bitter earth, and the whirring sound of the Breville juicer. My mom, chopping and grinding away, does all of this with one wing. For me.
I stand in sad and still silence, in awe of you. I want to tell you so many things, but the persistent lump in my throat makes me oddly quiet, cold, and sterile in moments of potential vulnerability. I can scream and shout in our moments of shared pent up anger over naïveté and innocence lost, both past and present. But I do not like to cry in front of you.
Like mother, like daughter. I find myself using your “something-in-my-eye” line more and more these days.
It appears my wing is in need of repair, too.