Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Week's Worth

Monday: A patchwork of emotions welling up inside, threatening to bubble over the surface at any given moment. 

Tuesday: Much like Monday except for the charming spillage of hot tea all over the desk creating accidental watercolors of hand-written reports. 

Wednesday: What was that? Gunfire? Right where I need(ed) to be? Abort Mission (at least temporarily). 

Thursday: Another conversation with James (aka: DAD). He asked for my address (I've only lived in the same location for eleven years next month) but, no worries, I understand. He asked if he sent me something, would I read it. Hmmm... now, wondering WHAT could it be? Though, I suspect it has to do with his faith. We'll see 1. if he sends or 2. when it arrives. 

Friday: Much too tired to go to the store for beer, wine, or other. Probably just as well. 

Saturday: Scrubbing bubbles and shelf liner rule the day. 

Sunday: What? Here already? No booze, no dates, no clean underwear! I.E. Laundry. Where, yet again, some dip shit messes with our clothes. In Danielle's words, "what the fuck is wrong with people?" 

 . . . and it is Monday again: A patchwork of emotions welling up inside, threatening to to bubble over the surface at any given moment.   

Peace. Out. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Like me she is a middle daughter with an older and a younger brother. However, unlike me she also has bonus siblings; an older and younger sister. So envious I was of those: sisters. I remember my mom telling me decades ago she always wanted four children. I've often wondered if  the fourth had been a girl and how I might have been different with a sister in my life. It was not to be. Mom and Dad stopped at three. In fact, it is my humble opinion that number three was pretty much the straw that broke that marriage camel's back. But, that is another tale.

Peggy had sisters and more to the point, more padding at either end of her middle-girl-itis than I. And while Peggy and I are the same age and shared other commonalities beyond living across the hall from one other in the mid nineteen sixties, there were differences. Chief among them, our levels of shyness; hers much greater than mine. Back then she shrank to the point of nearly disappearing into the shadow of all that sibling padding. Quite the feat, given her height.

My family moved away from that building (and neighborhood) Peggy's family and mine shared in 1969. Peggy and her siblings left my reality some time later. In 1974 Peggy and I met again when we she enrolled in the high school I was attending (having skipped a grade, I was a year ahead). While I'd chosen this high school to be as far away from my older brother and his high school experience as possible, Peggy'd followed both her older siblings to this school. The shyness I remembered from our early grade school experiences was still in full effect, for both of us. Neither went out of our way to re-kindle. We were friendly when we met in the halls but didn't become friends. She continued to shrink in the shadow of her siblings and I muddled along trying to escape any connection to or resemblance of my familial relationships.

Fast forward to 2011: Peggy and I hadn't seen or spoken since our occasionally meeting in the high school halls.  I had met one or the other of Peggy's older siblings once or twice over the years with all of us making the usual, "good to see you noises" and promises to say, "hi" to our respective parents and siblings. About a year ago, I started seeing a woman on one of my commuter routes who reminded me of Peggy. At some point I decided that it was Peggy but made no move to speak to her.

Then in August she saw me sitting in a seat, across the aisle of the commuter train car. Her bespectacled eyes lifted in recognition and she stage whispered, "Debbie?!" I smiled and nodded a greeting.

Peggy smiled back, took out her cell phone, made a call, and then began to pepper me with questions about my brothers, mother, and the like, all prompted by her older sister. That's who she'd called. When the passenger in the seat next to Peggy exited I moved to take that seat. Peggy appeared uncomfortable with the change but I wasn't going to conduct this inquisition conversation across the aisle

Finally, Peggy hung up from her older sister and began to talk at me about her brothers, mother, sisters, her dad's death, and the other's respective lives. There was scant opportunity for me to say anything about my life or to ask after her own. She didn't volunteer anything except that she was on her way to church, why she happened to be on this train, at this time. (Which, by the way, not the same commuter route I'd seen her on previously.)

Nearing the end of our ride together she hunted down a piece of paper, scribbled a number on it, offered it to me saying, "you can call me if you want." She seemed surprised when I offered mine own piece of paper with my number scribbled on it in return.  I stuck her piece of paper in my messenger bag, bid her adieu, and got off the train.

The entire exchange felt weird the rest of the evening and well into the next day and the days beyond.

For several days, I went back and forth about calling her. There was weirdness. There was something just . . . off. But then, I took a deep breath and decided to take the plunge. I thought we'd have lunch and take a stab at a really conversation. Maybe we'd find we'd developed more commonalities in the thirty some years since our youthful exchanges. Maybe, while clearly very different women now, we could break through those barriers and forge some kind of  friendship.


But it was moot. For, after deciding to call, I dug around in my bag to retrieve the piece of paper with her scribbled on number only to discover it gone. Missing. Lost. Likely bundled up and trashed with stray receipts, gum wrappers, and other like debris that litters the bottom of messenger bags after a few days.

I presumed she hadn't married or otherwise changed her last name. I presumed that I probably could find her and her number if so motivated. But, I wasn't. And neither apparently was she. For weeks (months, really) have passed and she hasn't called me either.  

Now I wonder whatever shall we do, however shall we act if we happen to meet again, face-to-face on a commuter train on the way home to the reality of our respective lives, further and further away from our respective pasts?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

♥ of my ♥

♥ For some October spells Autumn in fuller force. The trees are turning, the leaves are falling, the skies are clear and the air just a tad crisp. For some others October spells Halloween. Costumes are planned (made/secured) treats are purchased, pumpkins are carved, and parties attended. For still others, October spells apples; seeing favored varieties at the local market, bobbing heads in buckets full of them, and dipping them in caramel and rolling with nuts. And for others October spells lamenting over how the marketing of THE HOLIDAYS  seem to arrive earlier and earlier every year. AAARRRGGGHHH!!

♥ Since 1985 October spells birthday.  Or more specifically, D's birthday. My second a final child, a beautifully precious, and quit loud girl child. This girl child from the very beginning of her existence established her world and our places in it. October then, has been about excecuting  the birthday event of the year. The celebrations have taken many forms over the years the once constant being NO HALLOWEEN theme. Ever. This year's low key celebration, no exception.

♥ My girl is twenty-six years old today. Though we have enjoyed a grand mother-daughter bond through-out the years, the years haven't exactly been a cake walk. She has challenged me in ways the actor never did. Yet, we are friends and enjoy spending time together. My girl can be demanding and let's face it, stubborn. But she is also extremely loving and generous. She is smart, funny, and . . . well, she's mah-ve-lous. Moreover, she has the very best smile on the block. I adore that smile.

♥ The last few days have been very trying for her (for us) for a variety of reasons. This birthday will not be among her happiest. Never-the-less, it goes without saying that I wish her the very best for this day and for many, many days beyond. It goes without saying that I hope that she can believe in herself as much as I believe. I know that recent setbacks will slow but not stop the train. It goes without saying that the effervescence she usually exudes will return in full force and for a long, long time.

♥ Happy, happy, joy, joy, to my little girl*  Sweetest daughter, continue to keep your eye on the prize and your back to the wind.

♥ Ma

*it's a family thing. :-)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

It Is Not A Game

family: a six letter word maze.  

A couple of Sundays ago both brothers bounced into my day-to-day. You need a little background to know how incredibly odd a happenstance that is: we were never close (emotionally) my brothers and me. Older brother our home state when he was twenty-five. For over a decade there was no communication from or news of him or his whereabouts.

During that period younger brother occupied his time with a variety of nefarious activities, most of which got him arrested and incarcerated. He also found the time to father more children (he'd fathered one in his teens, before older brother split) get married, ordained, and more.  

In the late nineties older brother resurfaced and even returned to IL for a brief stint, until younger brother managed to get himself arrested yet again. Since older brother's return to TX (where he'd been living most of the time he'd been gone) in the year 2000 he and I have exchanged 2 birthday cards, a couple of text messages, and three phone calls, for most recent, that Sunday.

Younger brother's release from prison earlier this year AND news of our father's illness PLUS our mother's constant urging for her children to become, if not friends, at least cordial has set this, "let's be a family" train in motion. I'm convinced that my older brother calling me that Sunday and younger brother dropping by (after calling to say he, two of his children, and his girlfriend were in the area) for a visit on the same Sunday was not a coincidence.

You see, I'm seen as the pariah. I'm the one who didn't do drugs, didn't rob, steal, run away, prostitute myself or others, do time in state prisons or local jails, disappear for over a decade driving our mother insane with worry, or treat her with disdain at best and something less than human, at worst.  

I'm the one with the issues. I am the one who must be convinced that WE ARE FAMILY and need to start acting like it.

I am the one.

Older brother's first conversation with me that Sunday ended with him yelling at me, "that's why I didn't want to talk to you, IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT YOU!!!!" This, after I agreed, we should be cordial, we should try to build some kind of relationship, we should do this, for our mom, who has wished to see us relate for it would, "make an old woman happy."  But I also added that I've been here with our mother the entire time he was gone. I've been here to hear her complaints, soothe her fears, carry her groceries, help with her meds. I've been here with her wishing our family was different, better.   

He screamed about it being about me and hung up. However, not before I was able to interject that I'm the last person IT has EVER been about.

Older brother called back apologizing while patting himself on the back ("years ago I wouldn't have") and revealing that he still has some anger issues to work through. I don't know what I ever did to make him angry and he admitted, that he didn't either.  The second call ended with us agreeing to let go of old resentments, hurts, and whatever else we might THINK of we know one another (info gleaned from our mother as she is the conduit between us or our collective imaginations) as we've been separated for most of our adult lives. He reminded me that I used to call him, "Day" unable to get my toddler mouth around his actual name, "Wayne" and that no matter what, I'm still his baby sister.

Younger brother, on that Sunday, called at 11 to say he'd be in the area visiting Mom and would it be okay if he, the kids (16 y.o. daughter and 14 y.o. son) dropped by around 3 sweetening the deal by tossing in, "the kids really want to see you."  It was well after 5 before they (with girlfriend I hadn't met before) arrived. Oh, his wife divorced him during his most recent incarceration, the second since they married 17 years ago. 

They arrived, we all sat and chit-chatted, all friendly family like. Note: my brother has been in my condo since shortly before his arrest nearly 6 years ago. My condo was broken into some years ago and my daughter remains convinced that he was the culprit. He's stolen from me before, so that thought isn't a huge stretch.

After about 30 minutes younger brother announced it was time to go. We were saying our farewells when he began taking pictures of the photos affixed to my wall, and on his way out the door said, "there is something I would like to talk with you about."

The something is either money, a visit to our father, or both. I have yet to discover as he has yet call.

Still, as I've mentioned to both brothers on at least two occasions, I'm willing (and able) to let go, I will release any old resentments, I'm willing for the sake of all our children and our mother to try to mend fences and become this family we each seem to have pictured in the back of our minds, perhaps even in the deep recesses of our hearts.

I am the one. I always have been. 

I just hope I'm not the only one. Still.