Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Sliver: Memories of My Mother

...I've decided to compile some good memories of my mom, as she is in the hospital due to kidney and heart failure. We don't know what is going to happen, but nurses and doctors expect a slow recovery. I hope so. We'll see...

It's the level of oddness I sensed in how excited she was about the cinnamon & sugar doughnut holes, for there was something in her eyes--they got wide with delight and she smiled so. Her voice raised up high with full jubilation like a bird in spring, but nonetheless, she was in complete control. She was all in control. But the oddity was like a railing, that smooth, comfortable railing, but there's the sliver, you know? That damned sliver that has to ruin the smooth surface of hand-sliding contentedness on the pleasant, yet adventurous hike in the dunes as the lake breeze kisses your face. You're running along and ay! A sliver.

It was when I was walking down 178th St. (my road) on the way home from school, and she pulls up in the car and informs me of a bunch of goodies she'd gotten at the store: cinnamon & sugar covered doughnut holes and apple cider. She was so excited to bring me this good news, peering through the passenger window, stopped in the middle of the road, the car idling, as we were also. Then she proceeded to give a longer list of other things. Mom was fond of lists. What are we having for dinner? "Green beans sauteed in garlic and butter, mashed potatoes with whole milk--you can put pepper on them! roast beef with homemade gravy, crescent rolls and jam...." she would go on and on listing off all the ingredients, even the salt. "Roast beef," would have been sufficient for us so keen on efficiency and impatience.
We rolled our eyes and guffawed, "Mom," in exasperating sighs.

After giving me the list of goodies from the store, she sped off somewhere. Where, I don't know. But I stood there, and I remember thinking she seemed to have a slight, just, ever-so-slight over-excitement about it, like that sliver that makes the railing of a fence just less than good--less than appropriate. For you glide your hand along its smooth surface, and chances are you'll be alright, but--there's that little sliver you're actually guaranteed to hit. And it will smart, but not too much. In fact, while it may puncture the skin, it will only break off the rail by the force of the sliding hand, busting only the surface of the skin and falling away into the valley below. It's only a minor disturbance, only a mere fraction of one...a whisper of pain. But it is there, and it happened. You get a rush from the pain, just you get a rush when you're embarrassed, or, you wonder if you are about be. All the same, that tingling sensation comes and it shows in your eyes and on your flushed cheeks. You can't hide it. There's a sliver coming, and chances are, it'll smart when it hits you.

What was the sliver? Maybe my friend was the sliver, that locus or maybe the causal agent of disturbance and embarrassment. Did I tell you my friend was with me? I forgot to mention that. Ha. I usually forget some minor detail. But then is that really a minor detail? No, I'm asking you. Is it? Maybe the sliver is the embarrassment I felt at my mom's slight, over-excitement at the whole thing, her high-pitched voice and all. Maybe if my friend hadn't been there, I wouldn't have felt embarrassed. Maybe I woulda. Then again, the level of embarrassment was congruent with the level of over-excitement I perceived on my mother's part. Her demeanor just had that slight, little, sliver in it, you know?

How many slivers were there? Me? My friend? My mom? Was it perceived or real? Maybe I'm remembering it with a pseudo-memory, an eisegesis--I'm reading some false notion into the whole thing. Bah. This is too psychological isn't it? The point is I have a good memory of my mom. But it's those damned slivers that always get in the way. Nevertheless, thank-you mom, for the goodies, and for thinking of me.


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