Feelings of remorse swallow me whole
As I am continuously confined by this inescapable feeling
Hours, days, weeks pass and I forcefully attempt to destroy the past; the memories.
Still aching when you call, hands shaking.
Stomach tightens like double tied knots as I respond to your single worded text messages.
Clammy hands grip the phone as my swollen thumbs manage to type “hey.”
Heart accelerates, racing a mile a minute – pain almost unbearable.
Inhales are longer, deeper, as I stand by the phone waiting.
Waiting, as seconds become minutes, minutes become hours.
In that simple “hey” I envision whispering softly in your ear as I lay beside you
In that simple “hey” our bodies intertwine, legs wrapped around each other in velvet sheets.
In that simple “hey” my petite body embraces your masculine features
Fingers tracing your every being - pressed against you
Nails long enough to create a whirlwind of red across your back.
Soft kisses down to your navel as you shiver
Tracing my lips back as I slowly kiss your forehead.
In that simple “hey” I become captive to your touch
Mind, body and soul out of reach from reality, completely transported.
A sudden knock on the door reawakens me as I slowly open my eyes
Deep inhale as I manage to reach over the night stand beside my bed
To find myself staring at a simple “hey.”
”My mind drifted as I examined the living room space. Although I had been here before, I felt like a stranger in my own home. The yellow poppy flowers that Mom had planted as seeds by the window were now blossomed. New picture frames of my sweet sixteen and high school prom, as well as my brother’s, decorated the black colored television stand. The lights in the living room were fully lit as the sun disappeared turning the streets of the Bronx into darkness. As I pressed my ears against my mother’s stomach, I could hear the growling noises and dared to ask her if she was hungry.
“Ma, usted tiene hambre?”
“No, no honey, I am fine,” she replied, her thick accent pronouncing every word carefully as though not to make a mistake.
“Well, I’m kind of hungry,” I laughed, found the strength to stand up, and headed to the kitchen to grab a piece of pound cake that rested on the table. As I walked to the kitchen, Mom proceeded on updating me with the last few episodes of the soap-opera that I had missed. I walked back to the futon with pound cake in hand covered by a bounty napkin and a cup of orange juice on the other hand. Mom continued to speak as I listened, placing the cup of orange juice on the center table in front of the television stand.
I stared at her as she spoke and, for the first time, examined her facial features. The lady I envisioned in my mind was not the same lady that sat next to me. Three years had clearly passed by and time was quickly deteriorating her physically; I was intrigued yet fearful.
As she spoke, I nodded my head in approval to make sure she knew I was attentive and listening to what she said, but my eyes wondered as I noticed freckles in her face that I had never seen before. I inherited the same beauty mark she has on her left cheek, something I hadn’t quite noticed. Her dark-brown dyed hair hid the white hairs that were growing from the roots of her scalp. Time and stress had been the cause of the wrinkles forming around her eyes. I avoided eye contact as she spoke because I felt like she knew things that I didn’t even know about myself. Yet when I did look into her dark watery eyes I thought about all the nights when I lived home that she’s sat crying in her bedroom while my brother and I locked ourselves in our rooms. The dark eye shadow and eye liner was her disguise to hide the bags forming under her eyes, but at that moment they couldn’t hide from me. I noticed wrinkles in places where I didn’t know wrinkles could even exist. The skin on her forehead had fine lines, and as she spoke, the skin around her lips also showed signs of aging.
As soon as the Colgate and optimum online commercials were over and the soap-opera returned, I quickly focused my attention on the television screen. I did not want her to notice what I noticed, but deep within me I knew that she knew she was no longer the 25-year-old with the voluptuous body and fine looking skin.
As she stared at the television, I held her soft delicate hands and imagined how they once looked like mines and how mines would someday look like hers. I could feel the wrinkles and swollen veins on her hands; they were testimony of all the years spent cleaning dishes and washing clothes under hot water. They told the story of a young woman working long hours, often without break, on a sewing machine in a Brooklyn factory. These hands were testimony of a single mother who struggled to pay the electricity bill on time. Her legs were testimony of long hours of standing on welfare lines to fight for food stamps to feed her children.
Time had not been the only cause of her aging but also of mine, and I wondered if time would allow her to see her grandchildren like she had always hoped for. I wondered if time would allow us to have more conversations like this one; if time would allow me to hold her hands and embrace them like I had that night. I wondered how many more nights we would be able to sit together on that futon watching episodes of more Spanish soap-operas. How much time neither one of us exactly knew, but at that moment, although I felt scared, a sense of pride overwhelmed me.
I envisioned her at times looking at herself in the mirror recollecting herself and wondering where her years of youth had vanished into. Someday I would also stare at myself in the mirror and question my youth, question how time continues but at a point in our lifetime our once youthful physical attributes cease and a different stage in our life begins. But at that moment, as I held my mother’s hands, I saw a different kind of beauty. Yes, my mother was getting old, and, in all honesty, I struggled for a long time to admit that, but regardless of her physical characteristic, she remained beautiful. Her current physical characteristics were an embodiment of that beauty.”
make my heart ache.
I was born from strange love,
and it has burned into my heart.
I need quiet times
and raw moments.