I didn’t drink for 14 days through some really stressful times but right now I have beer because I reached my limit of sobriety during the super stresses of: mom in hospital, 14 days of kitten diarrhea and cleanup, phone malfunctioning, car dying a gasping agonizing inconvenient death, the dog developing a seratoma on her ear and spending so much beer money on avoiding surgical procedures which have resulted in a lancing and sausage bandaging of her ear requiring vigilance to keep dog from worrying it off, nightly nightmares worse than usual, hot weather, feet suffering from unusually bad eczema, my back trying to go out for a week now, having to sign my kid up for high school, the chaos of all my spaces spilling out of their allotted spaces and into my head ——
It was 100° today and the air was full of smoke from Lake County being up in flames for two weeks. My mom got her discharge papers from the hospital in a fog of confusing information and she herself was disoriented to the point of near-incoherence. When we finally got her home it took a half an hour to get her the short distance from the car to her bed and at the end of it the pain wiped her out for hours afterwards. She’s not hungry but would like to know if we have any jello? Today is yesterday to her groggy mind. Her hip is in massive pain in spite of the excellent morphine coursing through her system.
In my mom’s delirium she said something shockingly hurtful to me that I’m trying to forget. What people say in delirium is stripped of self consciousness and more truly what they think than what they say at any other time. She’d be horrified if I told her about it later. She’ll be horrified if she reads this because I know she loves me very much and has no idea half the time the power her words have to impale me. I don’t think she’s ever really understood her power over my emotional state. I wish I could take that power away from her but it seems wholly connected to my primordial self. I believe I’d be a lesser person if I severed my connection to her. The connection that makes me feel responsible for her.
Today when a new nurse came in and introduced herself I introduced myself as my mother’s mother. A bare truthful slip of the tongue. I have always felt responsible for my mother. This isn’t something she put on me, something she imposed on me. In fact, she’s annoyed whenever I rain on her parade, trying to impose some reason and responsibility on her that she rightfully doesn’t think I should push on her. She’s a grown woman. She’s the grown woman who gave birth to me 45 years ago. But from my earliest memory I have felt the weight of responsibility for her actions, for her abandonment of me, of herself, of her duties, her reason, her adulthood. When I was a kid she would come to my bedroom at night and cry on my shoulder after fighting with my dad.
Maybe it only happened once. You know how tricky memory can be. But the weight of her pain, her sorrow, her anger, her fears laid heavy on my spirit my whole life. I remember being no more than 11 years old and wishing so hard I could fix all her problems, deliver her from her mistakes, be enough to heal her heart and her mind and her –
My shoulders have never been broad enough for the both of us. I set myself down on a quiet hillside and left myself there so I could carry the imaginary weight of my mother through to the end. But nothing I ever did could deliver her from her demons, or from herself.
I don’t want this to be the only thread that tethers me to earth. I ran for a few years, I tried to snip the thread with sharp scissors but it grew back quietly in the alley of my life like a virile vine groping the bricks against which prostitutes seduce Johns with sallow blow jobs. I wanted so desperately to disconnect from my origins, from my umbilical cord of duty, but it ran too deep. I was pulled from the soft timeless ether back to earth to be born for this and I don’t know how to sever myself from the stars that gave me body without killing also those who depend on me.
Therefore I float here, uninvited by predestination, too independent to tow the line of fate, ready to be killed by the vicious dogs of sleeplessness.
My nemesis has had more children in this space than I’ve had thoughts.
There’s no magic strong enough to fix this lightlessness.
When I die I hope to ignite dawn with an evanescence of spirit that turns love on fire.