The Silent Existence of My First Mother

I am a woman.  I am simple.  I am an artist.  I am quiet.  I am an athlete.  I am a mother to a young daughter, and she is the perfect combination of her father and me.  She looks like an untainted image of all that is good from him and all that is good from me.  I am divorced.  I am proud.  I am poor, but I am rich with love.  I am a survivor.  I am a daughter to a mother that cannot see me.  I am shy.  I am nervous like a little girl at her first dance recital; warm salty palms and insecure knees.  I am a doormat.  I am a hard worker.  I am laughter, the good belly aching kind.  I am consumed by fear.  I am here, but I am gone.  

I lost my balance on a stroll down memory lane.  My mind swallowed me up and time stood still.  Not even the stale air moved.  As I looked at the photos; they walked and talked and taunted me.  They pointed their crooked fingers and cackled at me like witches.  They were witches.  They were hungry for my soul!  I knew they were here for me just like before.  I thought I had beaten them, but they were there all along, waiting for the right time to take me hostage.  Their devil red eyes burned my sanity while my face blazed hot, and my eyes filled with warm salt water.  The voices and the faces pounded louder and grew bigger and felt stronger than before; like the rumble of a freight train barreling down the track.  Only my foot was caught in this track.  It was too late, l I was no longer there.  Like an outsider I watched myself fall completely off balance.  The fear and confusion on my daughter’s face pierced my heart, but I was already lost.  My body crouched in the corner like a child, and sat on my hands, and murmured to the photo album.  From behind my eyes I watched my frightened little girl run from the room.  In the corner my body rocked back and forth.  I hid deep inside my head among the red eyed witches with their faces and voices.

If I were still here I would I would apologize.  If I were still here I would introduce myself to my youngest daughter.  If I were still here I would be independent.  If I were still here I would love again.  If I were still here I would draw again, paint again, live again.  If I were still here I would say I love you to every day.  If I were still here I would stand up for myself.  If I were still here I would have real conversations, and my laughter would have meaning.  If I were still here people would see me.  If I were still here I would make my mother believe in me.  If I were still here I would be normal.  If I were still here would not be lost.  If I were still here.

I am nearly extinct.  I sit in a dark corner of my mind.  It is cold and humid and the air smells like mildew.  It reminds me of a forgotten attic or basement.  It is locked from the outside and there is no way out.    Some days I can sneak out a familiar mannerism or sentence.  A loving glance or gentle motherly touch floats off the shell of my former self and lands softly like a butterfly on a dusty surface.   My daughter doesn’t recognize these little things.  I have been gone so long that I am a distant memory now.  I am in purgatory.  I do not know what I did to deserve this exile.  I am weakened and I fade more and more each day.  I am no longer in the darkness of my mind, I am the darkness.             

The last thing I said was, “Aren’t you excited to meet your new little sister?”  The last thing I did was take my daughter out for lunch and ice cream.  The last thing I saw was my mother’s little green house warm, tidy, and untouched.  The last thing I smelled was fried chicken.  The last thing I heard was, “Momma, show some old pictures.”  The last thing I tasted was a sweet cold bite of my daughter’s banana split.  The last thing I felt was fear.