Thursday, November 12, 2009
Rain: Rain is Kayla’s (OGW 2, Oct.1,2009) best friend. Rain’s mother recently took off to become a dancer in NYC, Rain’s father is an alcoholic. This is the morning of the belly button piercing and the party Kayla was so eager to attend.
Rain: My mother didn’t come home today. She said she’d be here for the weekend, but she didn’t show up Friday night, and Saturday morning she called to say, “I’m performing at Dancespace tonight! Remember that piece—“
I didn’t remember. I didn’t want to. Tears leaked over my cheeks.
“You can come to the city and see me tonight and stay at my friend Wendy’s apartment, you can sleep on the couch. Are you happy for me?”
“Yeah, Mom, I’m proud of you. You’re really making it on your own now.”
“I am. It’s wonderful to feel the real me peeking out again, you know? Not a wife or a servant or a – well, I’ll always be your mother, of course. Can you make a ten o’clock train?”
“No thanks Mom.
“You said you were going to take Kayla and me to get our belly buttons pierced before the party! And you said you were going to be here!”
“Well Rain, I’m sorry, but this performance is important to me. I have to dance, I just have to. It’s my spirit, it’s my soul, it’s--”
“I gotta go. Love you Mom.”
Then I slumped against the wall, slid down to the floor, wrapped my arms around my knees and softly cried. My father came in, sat next to me, put his arm around me, and held me while I cried harder. “She never wanted to be my mother! I ruined her life.”
Dad pat my back. “You could never ruin anyone’s life.” He got up. The last remaining flap of hair on top of his head was standing on end.
I smiled. Getting up, I asked, “Juice?”
“The usual,” he said.
I made him a strong screwdriver that was mostly vodka, two ice cubes, and a splash of OJ. “Can you take Kayla and me to get our belly buttons pierced today? Mom was gonna do it.”
“I don’t know, noodle. I’m not feeling so well today.“ He took a long swallow, then stared down at his hand, which was still shaking. After finishing the drink, he was steadier. “I’m not so sure I approve of you mutilating your body anyway,” he said.
“Dad…” I poured him another drink, and just orange juice for myself.
“Yeah, okay, I guess. If I’m feeling better. I think I’m coming down with something.”
He said that every day, and I paid no attention. “Oh Daddy, you’re the best!” I said, and meant it. If it weren’t for him, what would I do? Sleep on some stranger’s ratty couch in New York City? Not me. I hated dancing, too, hated it! Dad would never take off to find himself when I needed him. He would never do that to me.
“I’m gonna shower. You, eat something! You’re too thin!” he said, peeling my arms off where I’d thrown them around him, and topping off his drink before heading upstairs. “And make some coffee!” he yelled down.
“I’m gonna call Kayla and tell her she can come over.”
He didn’t answer. I knew what he was doing, he was crying. Crying over my mother. Crying that we were left out of her new life, and because he had a pounding headache, and he had to deal with me and my friends – make us happy – anyway.Sighing and setting my face to “impassive,” I stopped thinking, and busied myself with making a pot of coffee. I would drink it black today. Thick and black to grow me up, and I wasn’t going to tell anyone, even Kayla, that I was afraid.