14 Nov

In my head, in my weighted thoughts I’m sitting in a classroom in Grade 3, staring out the window at the wet mushy ground, new mud after winter, buds on the trees. My face is cradled in my arms, it’s quiet time, and I’m good at quiet. When I’m quiet no one can see me, or feel me.

Earlier that year, Michael’s mother had died. I remember this only because one day Michael got really mad, and threw a desk at the teacher, and was never seem again. Michael was poor, and the collective feeling seemed to be that he was trouble because he was poor, not because his mother had been sick most of his life and had just died. No sympathy for the destitute. I can still see his blond hair shaking on his head, the terror and the rage in his face, the absolute loss of control as he flew around the room.

His terror gripped me, and from time to time I thought about it, about my own mother. Staring out that window in spring, my mother in hospital for yet another treatment, my own fears and worries swirling in my head like mud. It could be my mother. My mother might die. I felt a kinship with him then, despite never seeing him since, despite disliking him before that. Suddenly I knew him, I understood his anger and his dark moods.

And yet I feared it. I feared becoming like him, unruly, untouchable. Alone on the playground not because of personality, but because others are frightened. Sitting on a bench all through recess, staring.

My memories are sparse through those years. I’ll remember pieces of early grade school, before life collapsed in on itself, like the desk Micheal threw that year. Watching a space ship explode, and understanding death. Grasping rather suddenly that sometimes you can’t just go home. Voices would ring in my ears reminding me how few my memories with my mother could be.

Despite those things, I argued every.little.thing. to the nth degree. I pushed my mother. I toed her boundary of what a girl was. I caved on my first communion dress.

I think it’s still at my father’s house, covered in tiny x’s and o’s-how important this dress was to her, this dress, and my headpiece, a crown of baby’s breath to sit in my chemical curls. That day mattered to my mother, despite it mattering nothing to me, even then. She passed down her favorite rosary that day, one which sits near my bed, waiting to be handed to my daughter, one of them, when the time is right. That rosary is the one piece left of my mother, the one tie to my past that I have, a tie to a better time when I stared at someone else, and thought how glad I was that the pain wasn’t mine. Not yet.

My head on my desk, I thought of all those things as the water dripped from the eaves of my school, and the stray cats hovered around the garbage bin next to the corner store across the dirty road. My mother waited two blocks away for me to walk home, sitting on church steps, her head in her hands, as I, untrustworthy dawdler, came across her.

I had my own desks to throw, later.

3 Responses to “DEsk”

  1. nursemyra November 15, 2007 at 5:30 am #

    that’s a lovely piece of writing

  2. thordora November 15, 2007 at 7:56 am #

    thank you.

  3. Marcy November 15, 2007 at 9:12 am #

    Yes, it is.

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