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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

bad daughter

most of my writing has to do with conversations i have with people. here is another one of them.

i was talking with a friend about how you can work to save, or even sustain, a strong relationship. the conversation worked its way around compromise, strength, love (the unconditional kind). much of this was common terrain, nothing too new or exciting; only personal examples to liven things up. we talked about little nuances of a person's behavior that can become so undeniably infuriating even when your logic tells you it's nothing.

my thoughts turned to the ever-uphill relationship that is my mother.

my friend was still talking about her man, i think. i'm not completely sure. i was now remembering the previous evening.

my mother was on the chair. it's an oversized chair--the kind condusive to lounging or at least just comfortable to the obese. now, this chair has one of those matching ottomans. so this is her setting. her position was slouched and her feet were resting on the cutesy ottoman. i can't recall where her arms or hands were, but i do remember noticing that her slouching had tugged on her sweatpants in a manner that accentuated her round belly.

as she slouched, rested, and protruded, my mother was eating. again, i cannot recall exactly what she was eating, but i do remember that she was making this smacking noise with her mouth. it's an incredibly loud smacking noise that i'm fairly confident she does only because she can. i think it has something to do with her turbulent and agressive father.

of course, i know all of these things because i was also sitting in the living room, watching TV. or, i was trying to watch TV. after a few smacks, i was primarily watching my mother. i was sitting there looking at her with utter disgust. the laziness, the complete gluttony, was filling me with this intense anger.

but what could i do? ask her to stop looking so pathetic? she's a grown woman. i had no right to say a single word. (plus i know from teenage inexperience that suggesting she eat in a quieter manner will only fill me with immediate regret as her blank stare becomes utter contempt for me, her only daughter.)

i drift out of my flashback to hopscotch back into the conversation that my friend had so kindly kept going for me. i'm sure i interrupted her because she was now talking about how she handles those moments of anger--those incidents with the little earthquakes we create with unecessary tension.

her word was sympathy. mine was pity.


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