Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Apprehension of Cookies

Have you ever tried to explain the unexplainable?
Express an event that you have to experience to understand?
He looks at me like I am crazy for having doubts. That I am over-reacting.
He wasn’t there. He didn’t see the way she was. No one really did except me and because of that, yes I have my doubts. I have concerns about someone saying that they can help her live a normal life.
How can you live a normal life when you don’t know what that means?
My life was what they would call normal for a little while. A sliver of time where we felt like a family.
A new doctor had my mother as a special case. He diagnosed her, and put her on an experimental drug to help balance the chemical deficiency. For two months, life became what most people would call normal. There was school, homework, dinner at the table together, game night, movies and popcorn on the couch. Then my mother decided she was cured, and stopped taking her pills.
I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I was sixteen and had just gotten my drivers license. I walked in the door from school and heard the smoke alarm going off. I ran into the hall between the kitchen and the living room and knocked it off the ceiling with my purse. I dropped my purse and backpack to the ground, as I followed the trail of smoke into the kitchen. It poured out of the oven. I turned it off, opened the door, and grabbed some pot holders pulling whatever was burning from the oven. It was hot and I burned my hands despite the pot holders. I threw it on top of the stove before kicking the oven closed with my knee. I ran my hands beneath cool water of the faucet. That was when I saw the bags of cookies. Dozens of bags just on the counter surrounded me I turned, saw them on the table and, on the hutch in the corner of the kitchen.
"Mom, you'll never believe…" Lucy yelled as she bursted in the front door running through to the kitchen. ”Whoa!"
"Hey punk, what won't Mom believe?"
"I got an A on my history report."
"That's awesome! Want a cookie?"
"Okay, what are they all for?"
"Bake sale, football team needs new helmets or something," I offered as a cover. "I was the one stupid enough to tell everyone that they could drop everything off here. Now I just need to get them to school in the morning."
"You're an idiot," Lucy said as she shook her head. "Mom is going to kill you."
"Yeah well not if I can get them into the car before she notices?" I said hoping Lucy would offer to help.
"Good luck with that," she replied instead before she turned and headed off to her bedroom.
I watched her go and then crept to the hallway. I slowly opened the door to our mother's room. She was in the bed sleeping, and I quietly closed the door in mild relief.
I found as many boxes as I could, filled them with the bags and hauled all the cookies out to the car. I took them to the local homeless shelter. Unfortunately, I proceeded to get lost on the way home. I walked in the door a few hours later, and I could hear my mother banging in the kitchen. I remember a cold lump of dread drop into my stomach as I took a deep breath and prepared to incur my mother's wrath.
"Hi honey where have you been?"
"I had an errand to run, and I got lost on the way home. Where's Lucy?"
"In bed,” she said back to me as she tipped her cigarette in the sink. My mother had her share of faults, but she was nothing if not beautiful. Her long auburn hair was just below her shoulders. She had the deepest green eyes and doll like porcelain skin. She was curved but thin, the perfect mixture of maternal rounding and youthful vibrancy. I always wished to have my mothers shape when I grew into a woman. “Where you should be, young lady."
"Yeah I'm kind of tired."
"Where are the cookies, Becca?"
"What cookies?" I replied. Then there was the sting of my mother's hand across my cheek.
The next memory I have is of waking up in the hospital. My mother was hysterically yelling and Lucy was crying as she held my hand.
As a child it was difficult not to blame myself for my mothers illness. I didn’t fully understand the mechanics of it. I was too young. All I knew was that when I did something she got mad. So I tried not to do anything. I just existed for the sake of breathing and nothing more.
Lucy overdosed last night. I went to see her and he followed me. I told him to leave but he insisted on staying. I let him. I’m not sure why.
I told him the truth about Seattle and Lucy. He didn’t say much, he just listened and said we would discuss it later. There was a moment. A single tiny moment when I found myself in his arms again. It took everything in me to not hide within his embrace and cling to him forever.
But I can’t, no matter how much I want to.

* Author Amy Romine writing as Rebecca Gailen from Serenity Lost,, Oct 2010

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