inheritance
lycanthrope Inheritance

We never talk about it. It's hard because she doesn't work anymore, and you can only talk about where to eat for so long, so our silences can often be heard humming and pacing and fronting. We even had to change the "I hate kids" greeting i had programmed into her cell phone because now that she wasn't teaching it didn't make sense anymore. She had let everyone borrow that phone just to show them that message, never mentioning it of course. Mainly now, I drive her for treatments, she talks to the doctor perhaps in some other language, maybe she makes him talk in another language, one where bad news is always accompanied by some sort of good news, even if it's bizarre. Well, on the bright side, your ashtma isn't going to bother you once your lungs are eaten. I only say this because now unless we are joking, we talk about everything so obliquely, the way cartoon characters turn and paw out the outline of the huge thug who had been standing behind them, and then turn around smiling before they make their heroic escape. Sometimes, she'll scoot into an empty room boldly and plop down on the bed like she's giving it a test run. This boldness isn't a new thing, she'd always been bold, a line or a loud person in a movie theatre stood no chance against her, she'd fight over a lady being in the express line with 11 and not 10 items. And if it was friendliness, it was an exchange of lives. She'd tell strangers children fresh off of soccer games how she used to be the captain of her field hockey team, could've played perfessionally if there had been a niche for it. Going out with her was constantly frightening to us. And when a conflict did arise, we could only wait with the faces of martyrs untill her bloodlust subsided. She always would say, it never hurts to ask, or don't be embarassed, you kids need to be willing to not be afraid to muscle up to the bar sometimes in life and lived by the motto it's not like you'll ever see them again, even in those times when we assuredly would. She just seemed unafraid of people.
But the doctor doesn't get the same, and lately i haven't been getting the same. I miss being able to dissuade her intense business or worrying with a joke, or an exaggeration untill there is nothing left to do is laugh. She always said i kept her light. It's so odd to see this woman who once talked exuberantly about her neurotic suspiscion that she had the Big C with every glass of Kool Aid she drank, or every time her hand accidently brushed her knee cap too quickly and thought it was a tumor, being suddenly cautious with the world, suddenly when finally it has all been realized, afraid to talk about it, to scream aloud, afraid of herself and of us.
The other night i laid on her bed, and she told me to go away she wanted to read, but i snuggled up, stayed there, told her i'd just take up no space at all. Oh my little tumor. She called me that, because when she was first pregnant with me, they thought i was a tumor. Which i guess made the news that it actually was a baby all the more wonderful to hear. And then after a while she said okay, back in your own bed now. Yeah hold on, hold on, just let me catch my breath i said lazily stretching. She laughed and then i laughed, and we started laughing at old jokes that we couldn't remember the words to untill we were tired out by laughing. I left and said goodnight after we hugged for a long time, conveniently forgetting that i was supposed to leave for a short while.
Most nights aren't like that. There are of course the uglier sides of cancer's irresponsible stewardship. I got that phrase from one of those environmental speals. It's spreading uncontrollably. The doctor has a word for that, but it doesn't matter what it is. It doesn't take into account that this is my mom's spreading. How can they have just one word for it, don't they need a billion for each invidual? I pick up her hand and i give her a hug, but i am very cautious now to do so, now her littlest whims are something i respect. But i don't think our love was like that before.
I could say anything to her, to my sister, anything to them. I sometimes wished i was an alcaholic or a transexual or something just so i could show the world what a supportive family was like. My mom did everything for us, memorized and forgot a million books for me and my sister, learned how to cook well enough to the point where she didn't burn water, after my dad, our chef, left us with a fridge full of strange uncrackable codes. She was the one who taught me how to do chores...she'd always say just pretend that you have to make the floor shiny or else the villain will turn the princess into a...she'd usually pause here...and i'd say it's okay and go off with my outline, engaged in a chore that i only contingently understood but knew was important, knew that if i failed to do, i'd miss something utterly important. And so many princesses were rescued. I know somewhere they are thanking me. Sometimes i think maybe she knows where they are, i know it's a childish thought, but i asked her the other day, where are my princesses. She only responded with yeah, i didn't like your last girlfriend. She doesn't know that we started going out again. She also doesn't know that sometimes i imagine things when i'm lifting her, or when i'm helping her pick out a hat. But she must know i'm imagining things when i'm cooking, with my unique creations. Her taste buds are unfortunately in this for the long haul, they are too far from the rest of the commotion, they'll be tasting things untill the final hours, like those soldiers on islands in WWII who didn't know the war was over, who fought against the shadows of what could be a GI but never was. So too will they not understand when they are abandoned, when they are told they are really besides the point now, and they will try to remember the good times, pancakes and eggs and bacon, or pumpkin pie and of course, a glass of white wine each night and chocolate ice cream. She has lately been addicted to Ben and Jerry's, and told us how wonderful it is that all of her favorite flavors are always on sale, and how this could possibly be more effective than any of the "therapy".
I told my mom appologetically about her not being lucky enough to have tongue cancer with the way my cooking is working out. But you'll be able to cook she said. This was when she cried. She cried many other times, but this was when it caught me off guard. This was the weeping that wasn't the showy weeping of the bad news, or the obligated weeping of reading the poem my sister wrote. This was the weeping we were not supposed to see but she could not contain. I wanted to raise you right, in a way that your father would've been proud of, she bawled like one of the second graders she taught for 26 years. Don't say that mom, don't worry, what about you? Are you proud of us? That's the best way to tell anything about what dad would've wanted. You're right about that.... but oh honey, of course i'm proud of you. What a stupid question she said, i'm going to have to start screening questions, i don't have time for ones like that. Ask me how i'm proud of you. Why it matters that i am, ask me all the things you and no one else ever did, all the things people never thought i could offer, ask me them now, I can live with that struggle easy now.
I was taken aback. In a way, i told her, this was all good, after dad had died, she had become his mourning completely, like she was exhausted of roles and could not find another, but now, now she had to. She seemed to think it was appropriate, like her sadness finally had a physical manifestation...well at least i really have something to whine about. But she never does whine.
I talked to her last night...i said mom, you know, our whole inheritance is a handful of strange traditions and seasonal decorations. She said that we had to keep decorating the house. I don't know....seeing those utterly useless reindeer candle holders might be too painful. She said then, noooo...i'm serious, in a teary tone trying to remain joking....You have to continue the traditions while i'm gone, that's as important to pass on as anything. Why, who's waiting at the end of the line for Easter Bunny salt shakers? I asked and kissed her cheek. It's not about that she said, do you remember how traditions felt to you as a child, having meaning so exact and rationed off, knowing what was expected of you, knowing that a certain date a certain place always meant full bellies or warmth or sleeping in late. And it's true, they were my marking posts of life, it was always everything would be okay if i could just make it to Halloween, then to Christmas. I'm only now able to see how each day can be a holiday. They were when i was younger nourishing, and when i was older what reminded me that i still had mourning to do when dad died. And now i knew they'd be those intense summations of all that life is again. They'd be unbearable for a while, but the food, the laughter, they'd catch up to the moments of coldness and separation when i would be standing in the shadows having excused myself to the bathroom, watching the warm table in the bright room from a distance. And we'd all talk about our memories, and it'd be another of those things we were always waiting for but were unprepared for when it came. Deaths, births, recognition of them both in each moment, and we'd all be a little closer i'm
sure, even without them who held us all together. So i guess i'll continue to have the traditions as if she was still there, as if she was watching, i'll keep relating with her, even on the nights where memory feels cold, when talking to myself is just too much. Sometimes it's life's delusions that are the most worthwhile.
I kissed her and went to go to bed. And who knows, she went on, and i sat down near her, ... maybe you'll meet a girl who's like me and bring her the traditions she's always secretly yearned for. I don't think so mom, i don't know if i can handle having kids with ADHD, should my loins probe to be fruitful with said theoretical girl. I mean, i'd have to send them to school with hummingbird feeders. Plus, she can't be like you, because then she'll die of cancer. I shouldn't have said it, i said it for no good reason, irresponsibly like some poets, just saying it to say it, because it was there to say. She laughed weakly and then hid her head into my arm and her voice changed as if it was straining to remain flat, ashamed to talk so directly. "You have to watch after your sister, we were closer than we let on, oh...it's just not that fair, i worked so long, all i wanted was to see it, see the scope of what i'd done, they always say to live in the moment but i wanted to see it all never
end, to see your children wasn't enough, i wanted to see how you'd raise them, but it's okay...i guess this is where faith comes in, i have faith in you, that's what i'm saddest about, leaving you behind, what about those days when you don't have faith in yourself....you've been a trooper, almost as strong as me, as i was, she trailed off. Well, i didn't have the preparations for life's trials that you had on the mean fields of field hockey. I could have been pro...i know mom...i know....i said purposefully dramatically. You should get back into acting she said wiping her tears. I am i said, i'm acting right now...acting like my leg isn't falling asleep under you, and its been a masterful performance up untill now, it's just that you went on and on...she appeasedly laughed and we hugged for a while. I guess it hadn't been that bad what i'd said.
It's just, i worry a lot lately about what i say. Especially about what i'm going to say. When my dad had died, i defensively nervously muttered something like, "You aren't dying are you, cause then shouldn't you be giving us some sort of speech?" He seemed to laugh, but it could have been a cough, he almost said i love and was taken away, i still remember how distorted his broad face seemed. My mom had tried to get him to go to the hospital earlier but he said he had to wait for his kids. I don't know how long we kept him waiting. I guess sometimes you can't get it perfect. I finally told my mom how bad i felt about saying that before dad died, how distant and uninterested it must've seem, how inadequate a summation for an event that would haunt me, would color each drink, each kiss, each F i was to imbibe guiltily and desperately in the coming years. But she said it was okay, the way i had said it was his style anyways. I believed her. This all seemed different though. What if I didnít get enough sleep the night before? I was constantly on edge. I had time to prepare what i must say, and yet i knew when that day came it'd be the same, i'd be there stripped defenseless, my 38 page long note locked in the wrong cars glovebox, the contingent and relevant philosophical implications of this experience never to be shared with her, and that all i will remember to do is gape and see her as a battlefield, see her who had once been unyielding comfort itself now robbed, transitory, weak. Red poppies and sunshine and even the earthís ancient blind parasites in all their brightness are veiled for what to someone in the trenches seems forever, is indeed eternal. She seemed to know i was worrying about it. She said...when the shit goes down. She really said that too....she said don't worry about what has to happen, or what you have to say, you've already said it all a million times, you've been saying it your whole life. Then she showed me the wig she had selected. It was a rainbow clown wig. I chuckled, You're not really wearing that out of the house are you? Of course i am she said, it's not like i'll ever see these people again. And this time it was my tears which were unexpected.
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pete ...is depressing 040409
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pete it made me feel like she was already gone 040409
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notme . 040409
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x wow, i guess some of your long winded blathes are worth reading after all 040410
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feeling the words lycanthrope - that was so poignant
no words i can say to help or to comfort you, but

your mom is amazing
you are amazing

.
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unhinged .

(i miss you)
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what's it to you?
who go
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