Thursday, February 25, 2010
Maree, still frustrated by her adoptive family (see OGW 1/8, 11/19, 1/7), seeks her birth mother out on Facebook. The Facebook search really happened, to me!
Maree: In my room, I ::weep:: on Facebook to all my friends about my horrible adoptive father, my horrible life, my adoptive mother who doesn’t care about anything except that I call her Mom, my sisters who think I’m weird and probably a little more than stupid –- “Who on earth besides Maree doesn’t believe in God?”
“God, Maree, you’re so dumb,” says Marigold before she storms out of the room, crying “Daddy!”
Who on earth besides Marigold is named Marigold?
I get up from my desk and go lock the door. If my so-called father comes pounding, I guess I’ll have to open it. But at least he won’t take me by surprise. It was worth it to make my snotty little sister cry.
Putting my head down in my hands, I reach under my glasses with my fingertips and rub my eyes. Who on earth does God hate as much as me? If there were a God, I mean. I wipe away a stray tear. I’m not a mean person. I want a family, complete with a weepy little sister-bug.
I just don’t want this one.
Taking a deep breath, I shake my hair and my head out, and it’s as if I can see my thoughts, all criss-crossed and laid out like Pick-up Sticks. OMG, there’ one I never thought of before, OmyGod OhmyGoddess Oh My Whomever, it’s fucking genius! I think and grab for the idea, hold it in a fist over my heart, then quit playing and get serious.
Facebook. It was the place I courted, landed and lost Chris Hazelton. It might be the place where I find my real family! My real mother! Facebook! My heart is a blur of quick beats, and my hands are shaking as I type into the search box, “Wilhemina German”. I pause. I press return.
My real mother’s not there, or rather she might be, but there are eighty-six of her. Eighty-six possible Mommy’s. Breathing in and slowly letting the air out, I glance at my bedroom door, still safely locked. I get up to make sure. Then, I get to work.
“RU My Mother?” I type as the subject line in a message to the first woman who appears she might be old enough. I look at her profile pic and think she kind of looks like me. I tilt my head, look harder. Untilt, press send, and go on to the next Wihemina German, not knowing whether she’s married now with a different last name. Not knowing much of anything. Wondering why I don’t just know when I see her face, why can’t I just know? Huh? God, if you’re there, if you’re real?
Sudden pounding on the bedroom door doesn’t even make me pause, because it’s too small to be my father, and I know it’s only Marigold. “Maree you let me in! What’re you doing, playing with yourself? I’m telling Daddy! Daddy!”
The mouth on that girl. And she’s only nine, but she does believe in God, or at least in Daddy and his belt. I keep typing, RU My Mother, RU My Mother, RU My Mother, RU My Mother…
Suddenly a warning appears on my screen: “You are engaging in an activity that others may find annoying. If you do not discontinue this activity, you may be cut off from performing this activity on Facebook for a period of hours or days”
I slam my mouse finger down on okay, and then return to scrolling through names, Wilhemina German, Wilhemina German, Wilhemina German, Wilhemina German, Wilhemina German—
“You are engaging in an activity that others may find annoying. If you do not discontinue this activity, you may be cut off from performing this activity on Facebook for a period of hours or days”
Oh fuck off, I think, because suddenly, there she is! I know it! I click on raven-haired, sloe-eyed Wilhemina German King, and type in RU My Mother in a blur. My heart is going to shimmy out of my throat in a moment! I click send!
The Facebook gods send me a box with this message now: “You have engaged in the same activity too often in too short a time, and Facebook will not allow you to continue. Your message has not been sent.”
And then the real pounding starts, my fucking adoptive so-called father at the door. Maybe the Facebook team called him. Shutting down my page, I think, Wilhemina German, where RU?
I open the bedroom door and the real world presses in, his belt already off and swinging in a loop in his hand.You see Marigold? I told you there wasn’t a God.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Anna’s piece evolved on its own. The direction it took even surprised me. I only wanted to write about the new paint in our upstairs hall. From there, Anna took over, and I actually started to cry.
Anna: I reach out and touch the wall, placing my open hand flat on it, feeling for the life that must be there. The new paint shines even in the small halo of light from the sconce in the hall. In the energy of the wall, I feel my father’s hands, three times the size of mine, rough knuckled, dry. Able to reach halfway around my waist, and then met in the middle by the opposite hand, thumbs on one side and fingertips on the other.
He painted the hall in an afternoon, strong, sure swaths of paint drawn by those hands, the roller an extension of him. He is big, I am small. He can do anything, while I am clumsy and can’t even paint my nails without dripping on the table and my mother crying, “Anna Titania Dorfman! What did you do?”
My father is certain, but I wander the house alone, touching walls and searching shadows for an answer to what? I don’t even know the question.
Why am I here?
What did I do to deserve this?
Who am I today?
What did I do?
Why didn’t they come get me? Why didn’t anyone know that I needed to be there, even if the ER doc said he was going to be fine. My mother, my brother – okay, he’s only six, but still – my grandmother, someone should’ve said, “We’d better call Anna, just in case. She loves her father more than anyone in the world, and she’d want to be here, even though he’s going to be okay. She should be here.”
No one called. I can see it, my grandmother trying to keep Aiden occupied with the odd things in her purse and promises of cookies. My mother getting coffee. Getting an extra cup for my father even though he just had his head stitched up and his arm set after the fall. Even though his brain was secretly bleeding… but she didn’t know that (be fair, Anna).
He was just painting the porch! He’d already painted the whole house, all but the stupid porch, and I was like… I told him, “Dad, don’t forget about soccer. Don’t forget you’re taking me out for pizza when we win.”
(Tell the truth Anna)
I told him “Mariah’s coming over, remember? I don’t want her to think we’re –“ (sigh) “Just could you paint the porch? The outside, at least. First impressions matter, Dad. And please change your shirt before you show up at the game. Take a shower, too. Dad, I know it doesn’t matter to you, but how about you wear that team tee shirt I got you for your birthday, and don’t wear it when you paint! Clean your fingernails or cut them or something, come on Dad! I know, I know -- appearances aren’t important, blah blah blah, it’s what’s inside that counts. Okay, Daddy, I love you. Gotta go.” I don’t know if I kissed him goodbye.
Why didn’t anyone come get me?
Why didn’t he tell them as soon as, before, why…
He should’ve said, “Anna should be here. I want to see Anna.”
He shouldn’t have let them tell him he was fine just because he was able to sit up and talk and sip the coffee my mother got and ask about my game and
He shouldn’t have died. He was strong, he was smart, he was certain and wise and loving and his hands could reach all the way around my waist and the wall is cool as if he never touched it and I want my Daddy! Please, please, please Daddy, I’m sorry, just come back to me, please.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Rain, missing her Mom and in a way, her Dad too, takes care of herself – she thinks. Here she’s getting dressed and drunk just before the big party. For previous parts of this story from Nancy, Casey, Kayla and Rain, check out OGW 10/1/09, 11/5, 11/12, 12/10, 12/31, 1/14/10. This thread of OGW has evolved into the skeleton of a new novel, called either “The Party” or “Raped”, I think.
Rain: I emptied my Dad’s ashtray, and put it on the kitchen counter. Took one of his cigarettes out and lit it. Coughed, some. Felt a little woozy – then a lot, like I was going to throw up and-or pass out. I sat down quickly on the floor, putting my head between my knees until the feeling passed. Stood up and inhaled from the cigarette again. It had an awful taste, like soot, but the second hit was smoother than the first, and I figured I could get used to this.
Next – retrieved the vodka from the coffee table, poured a shot into a glass, added OJ like my Dad had taught me, and gulped.
Whew. Fuck. ‘Nother head rush. Sat down on the floor again, cooling my bikini’ed butt on the tile. In a minute I was already on my feet again, because I always get up again, and I always will no matter what, fuckin remember that world.
As I started my second drink, I was feeling way better. Less tense. Smooooth. I swiveled my hips and ran my hand over my belly, savoring the warmth, appreciating my body, which wasn’t exactly slim, but it wasn’t fat anymore and it was strong. Like me.
I didn’t even want to put something on over my bikini, wanted to go to the party just like this, slinky and warm and smelling of smoke. But Casey’s mother would freak, I was sure of that, and then she wouldn’t take us to Brian’s house. What a bitch. Mothers.
I looked down at the red spot around my bellybutton piercing. The vodka sure cut down on the throbbing. I wished it didn’t look so new.
Upstairs in my room, I fumbled through my makeup and found a cover-up stick, which I smeared around the new piercing. It worked pretty well at covering the red. I looked at myself in the mirror. Swiveled my hips again – Look, Mom, I’m dancing. Thinking about my mother killed my buzz, made me suddenly sad.
Fuck that, I said. Yanked a spaghetti strapped, low-cut, tie-dyed long dress from Target off its hanger and pulled it on. Tripped going into my parents’ bedroom looking for a scissor. Fuck! I pulled in my knees and held on for a moment, trying to stop crying. Gotta grow up Rain! Not a little Mommy’s girl anymore. Gasping for air, I pulled it together, found the scissor and cut down the dress to fit my height – sort of tall, but not enough to match my cup size, so the big dress. The vodka I’d drunk plus the blur from my tears made me cut a jagged edge, but it was okay.
No one was going to be looking at my hem anyway.
The phone rang. “Mom?” I said, a sudden rush of hope flooding my synapses -- hoping she was waiting at the train station now for a ride.
Stupid Rain. I hung up on whoever it was because it wasn’t her. Felt my heartbeat slamming in my chest and tears starting again because it seemed like I wasn’t just on my own tonight. No one lived here anymore. Not even my Dad, not really.
Not even Rain, myself, not always.
Tonight I would be someone else. I hurried downstairs, leaving all the lights on as I went because in spite of the hard, all-together, strong person everyone knew me as, I was scared of everything, even the dark. In the kitchen, I tossed the pack of cigarettes and my Dad’s lighter into my tote on top of my towel, did a shot of vodka straight from the bottle, and left the lights on in the kitchen and living room as I passed through to the front stoop to wait for my ride. I felt better already. But I stayed in the halo of light by the front door just to be safe.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Gemma first appeared in an unpublished short story, “Wings”, then in OGW 9/24/09 and 10/29/09. Gemma’s mother abandoned her when she was a child. Mom was addicted to smoking faery dust, and now that Gem’s an adolescent she has what all the daughters of dusters got – wings. Horrified and outcast, Gemma left home for NYC to find her mother, and herself.
Gemma: Fear wrapped around my neck like Samantha, Ian’s pet python, gone wild. Tightening, then loosening so I could almost taste air again… and then tight again, choking me.
Gemma, get a hold of yourself, the reasonable, somehow calm me said inside.
Aaaaaaaa cough cough gasp Aaaaaaa… (sound fading out to nothing) said the real me, the anxiety-driven, wings-fluttering, freaked-out me.
“Are you gonna knock?” said Iris.
“She’s chicken,” said Lola.
“Just knock,” said Ian.
“I’m here for you no matter what,” said Luke.
“Knock!” everyone shouted at once.
I did. I thrust my arm out and rapped hard on the door twice, paused, and then a third time. All the voices in my head were quiet. I was alone in the hall outside the fifth floor walk-up. My knock seemed to linger in the empty air. When the air stilled, I knocked again, more gently, calmly this time because I was sure no one was home.
“Who is it? Who’s out there?” said a gruff voice, and I jumped back. “Who are you?” said the voice. Old woman? Old man? I couldn’t tell, but I imagined a milky eyeball pressed against the peep hole.
“Gemma,” I said. “Um, it’s me, Gemma? I’m looking for my mother?”
“I ain’t her. Go away!”
“I’m here for you,” Luke said in my head before I could run.
“Oh. Um. Do you know um Belle um Green? Or, I mean maybe she calls herself Belle LaGuin? I was told, well, I mean, I heard she lives here?” I pulled my jacket closer, forgetting for a moment that Luke and I had cut out a hole for my wings and they were out there for anyone to see now.
I am looking for my mother, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of! I thought, and with that, my wings beat, and I rose up off the floor. Gemma, me, adolescent faery. On my own in New York, and doing fine. I pounded on the door this time.
The door opened a crack. “All right, all right. Just come down from there. I’ll tell you what I know.” A gnarled hand appeared around the edge of the open door, and a long finger with a sharp, yellowed nail beckoned. “Come on, quit your lollygagging and get in before someone sees you. This is a nice neighborhood.”