Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Busy Bee

Mom. She is the hen that stirs the whole house. The sun, barely visible while her feet pad roughly against wooden floorboards. Aerobics instructions can be heard in the distance as she makes her rounds about the residence, her arms pulled up moving back and forth at her sides; she’s jogging. Her boisterous voice is heard over everything as she yells, sometimes on the phone to a friend, sometimes to no one at all, but more frequently to her sleeping family, complaining of dirty socks left on the dryer top, and strange fumes coming from one of the bathrooms.
She yells to her twin daughters, both freshly twenty-one and still living under her roof. Her youngest moved out a month ago after marrying her high school sweetheart. Maybe she yells louder out of sorrow, missing her baby girl. Still she doesn’t notice the closing of their doors or the annoying huffs they make in response to her noise making. Down the hall her husband sleeps, having just gotten home from a night shift, spent at WalMart. She knows he hauls heavy cases of soda and water by the hour. And things could be better, but could also be worse. They could be divorced like her parents were long ago, giving in to the chatters and whispers of their friends, allowing lies to split them apart. Could be remarried, her to a man way older, and him to a Jehovah Witness, leaving her twins and little girl to wonder as she had how a love so pure could end so tragic. So she counts her blessings and goes about her day.
She’s gone to work by nine, freshly showered and exercising, and by 9:30 after having prayed at the altar, she works diligently, sitting at her cherry-wood desk. The phone suffers from a bad case of turrets, ringing constantly and randomly hour by hour; she will answer it. She picks up the calls, inputs tithing envelopes, and types the schedules along with the program for this Sunday’s service.
Work is over by four, but she’s not home till much later due to her bustling all over town, like the ant that won’t quit working. She’s always on the go, mostly doing for others. Most likely it’s something girl scout related, though her daughters are all graduated from the troop. She continues to lead it, accompanying little nieces to sell cookies in front of K-Mart’s and Blockbusters. She heads trips to nursing homes too, with baskets of tissues and peppermints for the elderly. She puts together sleepovers and in the midst of pillow fights and marshmallows preaches ‘no sex before marriage’. Because she was once their age, and no one had ever told her that. She wishes someone had, and thinks things might have happened differently if they had. Maybe she wouldn’t have to regret all the times before. Her eyes lift to the sky and she thanks God that she hadn’t gotten pregnant. She wants to make sure that doesn’t happen to them; that they know.
Her granted green mini-van pulls into the driveway honking incessantly at nightfall. She announces that groceries are to be brought into the house, meaning by anyone but her. Her twins carry in plastic Piggly Wiggly, Walmart, or Public bags, and sometimes her husband helps; mostly not. She buys them fiber bars, kashi cereals, and low-fat syrup because anything at the very top of the food pyramid is despised. She’s recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol and wants to get healthy, so she eats healthy, and in worrying about her family, assures they do as well.
Still, a quick ten minute nap on their burgundy leather couch is taken before she jumps up to fix taco’s, spaghetti, lasagna, baked chicken, or most likely her favorite, fried fish.
After dinner, she’s fun when watching movies with her daughters. Her laugh is high pitch at the amusing parts, she shakes her head when the curse words come, and spews off what’s coming next if she thinks she knows. She’s tired when they ask for her to join them, but does so because she’s just happy they still like to spend time with her. She enjoys her family bonding time, and when her husband leaves the televised basketball game to sit beside her and rub her feet, she thinks life can’t get much better than this.
In her bed she lays alone much after her husband's left for work. The bedhead light is the only one on, and she’s propped up reading the scriptures. Sometimes she still gets scared at night her mother having just died a month ago. She’s scared of losing someone else and sad cause she’s already lost so much. But she reads the scripture and they keep her encouraged and she’s ready to go to sleep. On her knees she’s a praying mantis, praying for her children, her church, the rest of her family, and her friends. That’s the kind of person she is. She’s always thinking of others, always doing something, like a bee that just keeps on pollinating. Even her dreams are full of action.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Regret is an Understatement

My sister was, hands down, the most embarrassing part of my youth.  She was the type that dressed weird and said weird things, but back then I didn't understand her.  I couldn't understand why she acted the way she did because it was beyond my teenaged comprehension.  So instead of sticking up for her, I helped make fun.  Instead of standing beside her, I distanced myself from her.  Years later, I feel an intense sadness over this fact.

While I laid down and let people make fun of me, Sarah stood up to them.

"Fuckin weird-o bitch."  People would say to her.

"So what?"  Sarah would say and walk away.

While I'm sure her personality left her feeling rather lonely, it made her grow up differently from me.  As kids, we were both socially awkward.  We lived in the middle of no where, and the only kids that lived on our street were significantly younger than us.  Their mom called me "that fat girl" so I stopped playing with them so much, that was when Sarah and I became invested in the internet.  We roleplayed on message boards as our favorite Japanese-anime characters and IMed our friends instead of calling them.

Eventually, I fell inline with a group of self-destructive, black-clad middle school kids.  Whereas I became invested in the real world and its social perceptions, Sarah remained in her techno-electric one.  She didn't care what other people thought of her.  She dressed weird and said weird things without worrying about their consequences.  Conversations with her were often disjointed.  She'd leap from subject to subject without warning.  It'd go something like, "It sucks you don't feel good.  Did you hear that Pluto's not a planet anymore?" and unless you knew her, it was sometimes hard to follow the conversation.

People would ask me, "Why's your sister so weird?"

And I would say, "I think she's nuts."

It's true that my sister's a little eccentric, but most of my family is; we're all a bit oddball-ish.  It's true that Sarah is, by far, the most out-there person in my immediate family.  But she also doesn't care what other people think of her.  While I worry about societal perceptions and how people view me, Sarah could give two-shits less.  While I'm widely accepted by others, I'm accepted on THEIR terms.  Sarah, on the other hand, is only accepted by people that can accept her on HER terms, no one else's.  I must admit, I'm a bit envious of her for that.


This is a piece in work right now.  Sarah's gotta be the bravest person I know and I want to do a sort-of Creative Non-Fiction homage to her.  She's not dead or anything.  I just think she's an incredibly interesting person and the way we grew up sorta defines her personality.