Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

The slightest hint of arrogance and vanity were always brewing underneath the sense of duty and praise she poured onto us. The fact that I was the favorite was never fully acknowledged by my sister until the week we lost her. This being my third Mother's Day without a living person to mark the day is the one thing that fully separates me from my sister as she is showered with flowers and treats halfway towards the Atlantic. The cat has been especially loving today. It's always been a mystery as to whether he sees me as a parent, another cat or a source to get outside on this perfect Pacific-Mediterranean Day.

My mother shared with me a sense that our inadequate appearances were the root of much of our mutual dissatisfaction. I had heard of, but had not discovered her stash of modeling photos until after she was gone. Her ever insecure, jealous sister who years ago had torn them up in a rage, revealed that she had her own set of them and mailed them to me the week she took her own life this past December.

Was that the source of the rift of so many years?

Pinturas de las muertos gain more meaning through the years, especially looking back at a parent and longing to possess the youth of the subject of the portrait. Did she really think her looks were so inadequate back then? Or did she think she'd been given fare to New York out of pity, not out of something else within her.

We both mistook the other's silences as loneliness.

She never travelled to quite as many obscure pockets of the world as I, but her knowledge of the religions and separatist movements of the world ran far deeper than any of my visceral encounters have ever brought me.

More than one of my partners announced her phone calls with "The Queen of England is on the the horn, dear." She would be deeply offended by that crack only because she didn't have even a thimble of musty British blood in her veins and could trace the family lineage back to far before the ancestors boarded that boat from La Trance. Her great-great-great-grandmother was from a long line of scullery maids and pick pockets that stormed Versailles like their descendants racing to be first in line during the President's Sale at Filene's Basement, transfixed as they saw their reflection holding silk gowns next to their ash smudged faces.

Acquired prestige carefully laundries a pedigree or redefines what refinement really is.

Having no need to cut the flowers and carefully transport them to her doorstep this year, I can watch them go through their full natural cycle and feel more connected to her this year. In the final sort, my praise for her far outweighs the critique. I look at the portrait above and know the sense of duty may have always been there but was one of many tools in a mysterious fan dance whose secrets I never want fully revealed.

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At 2:50 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Thanks for sharing that JT. Your mother was beautiful to say the least. It must've been real nice to received such treasures from your aunt, but on such a sad occasion. :-(

But we should acknowledge our loves to our mothers every day!

Good Monday JT!

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

It's a bond that never ends. I'm lucky that the positives far outweigh the negatives, even now that she is no longer living.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Eva the Deadbeat said...

your mum is beautiful and that was a touching post. i love moms, mine especially, it is scary watching her age but i am glad to be here to see it...

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Thanks, Eva. Your mom seems like a dear too. I miss her appearances on DBC channel with her wry sense of humor or slipping under the camera in the middle of a great monologue.

I guess I'll just have to wait until Net Flix picks up those back episodes of your show.

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Eva the Deadbeat said...

hee hee, yes, that is nice to dream about. i am really glad i came back to VT to hang out with my mum. as much as we annoy each other, there is nothing comparable to having time with her....even if she is a raging busy body! ;)


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