Friday, May 8, 2009

And Then She Left

My back rested against cool porcelain as my eyes shifted from her blush-covered cheeks to the quick flick of the wand in her hand. She leaned into the mirror, tilted her head and pursed her lips seeing the beckoning teen vixen of not so many years ago.

I envied her. Her easy beauty contrasted the awkward angles of my face, the thickness of my limbs. The golden locks of hair that curled around her ears and traveled down her back were unlike the dark and heavy stands that hung like a Gothic drape over my eyes. My gap-toothed smile was nothing like hers. She could freeze a man in place with her seductive curling lip. Broken as she was, her beauty gave her refuge. Her beauty, warm and welcoming to him, left us cold. Empty. Lost.

As a little girl I would sit on the fuzzy-covered toilet seat and watch her spread colors on her cheeks, her lips, her eyes. I would mimic the faces she made in the mirror, wishing that one day our reflections would match. She would glance at me, arching a brow while pulling heated rollers from her hair. Was she wishing the same?

"I'm leaving." Her words banged in my ears. I should try to understand. I'm not a child anymore. I should be supportive. I should . . . I should . . .

But instead I was the awkward little girl made of sharp edges clashing with soft parts, wishing for a spread of pink across my cheeks, the turn of a wand before my eyes, the easy beauty that made life seem so . . . perfect.

But perfect never was. Looking in the mirror the reflection stares back. Broken.

And then she left.

My mother left.

*I had to leave this post as it was in the early morning hours when I spit it upon the page. I couldn't believe I posted a stinging memory such as this so close to Mother's Day--a day of celebration. But earlier in the week I was left standing, shuffling through cards with tin foiled and glittered exclamations of a mother's greatness and it left me with a furrowed brow and a heavy gut.
Here's the rest of the story . . .

Her mother left her in the scattered dust of four spinning old whitewall tires. Her mother left her staring into a future that held no sweetly sung lullabies, no tea parties with flowered pots and pretend guests. Her mother left the tiny girl with soft curls and barefoot feet with promises that she never intended to fulfill.

Tiny, broken and lost she clung to scattered memories of the woman who birthed her, the woman who said she loved her, the woman who found something better. She clung to the empty words that her mother, clutching a beaten suitcase in one hand and keys in the other, whispered in her ear. The little girl knew no truth existed there. She knew this woman would never draw her into her arms, bury her face into the sweaty curls that wrapped around her neck and tell her she would never leave her.

My mother, so little, so lost, yet so full of hope, watched as her own mother stumbled into an old Chevy, slammed the door behind her and pulled away.

The once abandoned little girl was now a woman with children of her own. And there I was, her nearly grown daughter who watched her as she covered imperfections and made silent promises to the reflection in the mirror. My mother would find her happiness. She would not be lost anymore.

Even if meant she had to let us go.

And she did. For a time. We were never the same, the young woman tripping into adulthood, the barely teenage boy full of angst, the little girl with scribbled dreams, the baby with a lifetime ahead of her. We were never the same when she kissed us with rose-stained lips, the heady scent of her perfume trailing behind her.

She's not really leaving, is she? My little sister's eyes questioned me as the tears began to form, blurring the blue of her eyes.

"Yes. She is." I said loudly, with no words. I knew she had to go. I knew she felt she had to go. And I knew that one day she'd realize what she left behind.

Broken as she was, as she is . . . the love I have for her finds a way to fill the gaps.

I often think of her, that little girl left alone in a trail of dust, her hands reaching to her eyes to push aside the dirty tears she didn't understand. I want so much to hold her . . . tell her that one day she'll have all the love she'll ever need.

Tiny. Broken. Mine. Mama.


28 comments:

ConverseMomma said...

I wish I could re-order history so you didn't have to tell this story.

You became MORE beautiful, ya know. And, it has nothing to do with hot rollers or a magic wand. It is because you physical beauty, which is stunning mind you, is far surpassed by your internal beauty.

Lots of people use their past like a vice. You surmount it to be the mother and woman that you are.

RJTrue said...

I don't even have words ...

I'll just have to find some, call you and discuss later.

Love you sis.

painted maypole said...

oh. oof.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

WHO left? Sigh... I'm hoping it's not your mom, and it wasn't permanent....

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

More questions than answers here. Beautifully told.

melissa said...

oh honey. hugs.

Cecily R said...

You write in a way that makes me feel motivated to run to the beach and board myself up and write more and jealous at the same time. I wish I had your skill. Truly.

I also wish I could give that "awkward little girl made of sharp edges clashing with soft parts" a hug. Or at least some hang out time.

Flea said...

Oh. Hugs.

Kori said...

I love you.

ConverseMomma said...

L....Oh L, which stands for so much love. DO NOT DELETE THIS POST!!! This is stunning.

tommie said...

you write in such a way that I am in tears....most likely because I identify with so much of what you are able to put into words!

happy Mother's day...you are making new memories for you and yours

flutter said...

you are the mother that mothers should be.

Indigo said...

For all the little girls out there with mothers who couldn't/wouldn't love them, those little girls that are beautiful mothers today...you, me and anyone else. Happy Mother's Day. We at least got it right and stayed the course. (Hugs)Indigo

maggie, dammit said...

Oh, babe.

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

Wow. Powerful. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Yet maybe part of you isn't sorry, because it has made you who you are today. Thank you for sharing this story, for showing us how much people can overcome in their lives.

Happy Mother's Day to you and your little one.

stefanie said...

I left this in the reader to think about it and then there was more...

You were who you were supposed to be then, and you are a beautiful, real woman now. Not a broken reflection. Sorry you have to wrestle with this now.

thedomesticfringe said...

This post doesn't need my words. I'm just commenting to say thank you for sharing such a moving piece of writing and for sharing your heart.

-FringeGirl

Corey~living and loving said...

WOW! this just blew me right off my chair, and touched my heart. Your writing is amazing. A story told in such a way that truly moved me.

hugs to you.

Karen MEG said...

And the cycle ends so beautifully with you.

Stunning.

Happy Mother's Day, beautiful mama.

Emily said...

Oof. There is such a beautiful ache in the way you relate this story. I've told you before.

Happy Mothers Day to you.

Woman in a Window said...

Your story, her story, and her mother's story...all linked and yet all so seperate. Your telling is full of life lessons, full of rich language, full~
and beautiful.
Happy Mother's Day!

Kel said...

I'm sorry. My heart stings with your words, what a memory to have for all this time and yet, you seem to have made such peace...
~K

Life As I Know It said...

wow. so beautifully written. thank you for sharing your story and your mother's story here.
You are a great writer. Don't stop.

Allison Says said...

Oh, laski. You are a fantastic writer...what a wonderfully written post. Brought tears to my eyes.

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

I love how your write, it makes my heart ache, physically ache. I have trouble not getting angry that a mother would leave her children...and then that one of those children would turn around and do it again. But your words, they help me to understand that it isn't about me or what I think is right or wrong. It's about so much more.

As Karen said, this story, it ends with you. Beautifully.

Keep on writing sister, you got it!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

When you write like this it totally blows me away.
And this story reminds me of my poor little stepson, who has also been left.

Mr Lady said...

You know what I love best about you? The way that I can read your posts and the wind, literally, knocks out of me.

What a beautiful way to tell a horrible tale.

You really never ever cease to amaze me.

Cat said...

I am teary eyed knowing that pain - my god you write so beautifully.

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