“She goes downstairs to the kitchen
Clutching her handkerchief
Quietly turning the backdoor key
Stepping outside, she is free” She’s Leaving Home, The Beatles
She closed the door quietly and made her way to the front door.
A multitude of keys were placed in my hands.
This was the trade of. If you wanted to do anything. Go anywhere, in your car, you had to juggle moving and parking cars outside. My mother begins her usual ritual while watching me from the sidewalk valet the cars around.
“I would help you but I woke up dizzy.”
“Oh your sister’s car is so strange.”
“The phones ringing. Could be your aunt.”
I’ve finally moved all three cars in to the proper places and hand her the keys.
In the calmest voice she asks
“Where are you going?”
“Therapy.” I lie.
I’m 30. My mother never knocks before she enters my bedroom. She never apologizes for pinning my siblings and I against each other. She tells me my sisters think I’m lazy and to me she says they’re stubborn women. I’m in the middle. She does however, make me panes de gallina when ever I ask. Sometimes we all pitch in and she makes pupusas and we have a little cookout out back. My father plays pool and plays music out of this one speaker, loudly. I’m sure the neighborhood dislikes us. I am 30, I live at home and therefore, a giant woman-child. All this, according to my mother.
“Therapy.” She’s sniffing.
“Yes. It’s good for me.” I look straight ahead, surely she knows I’m lying. She can smell it.
“Okay, well I have to go. Call you on my way back.”
I watch her waving from my rear view mirror as I pull away. I wonder what she’s thinking of me. I want to turn around. I get on the freeway.
On the nights before our coffee I can never sleep. And when I arrive home none of the hugs are as sweet. I linger in them hoping to find you. But instead I retreat to my bedroom where it’s a slow spiral into over thinking how our coffee went. Moments of clarity that scream “you should have made a move.” Moments of angst because I realize I ramble too much instead of asking simple questions like how are you? What are your interests? Isn’t sodomy lovely? I should be more attentive of him but I’m 30. Everything still revolves around me.
I make my way over to the west side of town where we are both strangers.
“You forgot, didn’t you?”
“No no I didn’t forget, just needed to go over some things... I’m on my way.” I could hear him smile through the phone. Speeding cars resembled his but it was never him. As my stomach began to tie itself into intricate knots I looked up from my book and there he was. His eyes searching for me in a sea of coffee and loud.
We smiled. A subtle sigh of relief removed itself from my breast.
“Everything alright?” I asked as I hugged him tightly.
Before he could even sit and respond I handed him a postcard of my favorite Monet painting. I placed his chair in the sun because I wanted to see what his eyes looked liked under the rays. I wanted to remember what he looked like in the light. I began to ramble immediately. I don’t know why the involuntary word vomit happens. I wonder if it’s out of loneliness, anyone’s lack of interest in me, or that I might just like him far too much. But it happened every single time. Even after the countless pep talks in the car. When he went in to get the coffee, I watched him walk away.
“Just freaking stop.” I pinched myself.
“Ask him about his favorite painting or piece of music.” I continued.
“Ask him about the trees, his favorite memory. Ask him about Roseanne. For fuck sake just shut up and let him talk for once.”
He approached the table with two coffees and two seperate treats. My heart sank a little. I prefer it when we share. I sat quietly sipping and he began to speak.
But my eyes wandered. That white oxford with those blue jeans really brings out the blue in his eyes. And the way he smiles when he’s a bit embarrassed or right before a laugh. Oh no...I hope I don’t have some stupid face on. I straighten up. Become serious and try to listen but my mind. My mind has wandered off into some dark corner booth. Where he is sitting, waiting to kiss me and say “oh devil, where have you been?”