| back & forth |
February 24, 2014 @ 12:29 a.m.
But there are many sides to a story

       It's the burning bushes I found peculiar. I remember the sudden want to pull over; get down, barefooted, and walk. Walk among the fire and sparse yellow grasses with the (probably) warm sand underneath. I remember the isolation and the toneless darkness. The exposed scarred stone. Thinking we had wounded a hill, a mountain, just to make a flatter winding road. But what I remember most, is the solemn intimacy I never had before with a mother who has the tendency to make light of the world.
       Because while I was watching those interspersed small fires, and stars unencumbered by artificial light, she was telling me about her marriage. In its very early stages. Telling a tale of my father as a petulant child. Lying to get his way. Manipulating my mother's life out of uncalled jealousy and a strange measure of control.

       "and what it all comes down to, is his damn insecurities"
       yes, I know of insecurities, they tend to destroy
       "insecure of what?"
       "Insecure about our relationship, thought I was going to leave him. He never believed I wanted to be with him. Your father was plagued by self-hatred. Never loved himself, so how could he believe that I did?"
       oh crap, I know about that too
       "but you would never leave him, even I know that"
       "No. But I had a different example of marriage. Your grandparents may have fought like crazy, but divorce or separation was never something they considered. Neither did I. So I learned that once you got married, you got married. That was that. No turning back."
       you believed in the true kind of forever
       "then I don't understand why the manipulation. why burn all the bridges and opportunities in your career? it all seems so...childish"
       so incongruent with the father figure I grew up with
       "probably to feel he had some kind of control over me. Insecurity, that's what destroyed my marriage. The sad thing is, that it was from the very beginning. I always felt lied to. And that is not the way to start a marriage, with resentment. Lack of communication, too"
       Why let him?
       "I just hope our mistakes didn't destroy your idea of what a relationship can be. Yours and your sisters'... I'd like to see a wedding at some point! None of you seem in a hurry"
       And just like that, the spell was broken. I laughed and evaded.
       "Of course not! I know relationships are all different..."
       intellectually, at least

       I didn't understand. My mother is strong and independent. I've known of that sureness she possesses, like she knows exactly who she is; knows who she is not. Always has. So how is it that she let it happen? Why put up with him so many years? Allow him his transgressions.
       When we finally arrived to my aunt's home, our oasis in the middle of the desert, and I picked up a sleeping Athan, pressed my lips to his neck, it is then that I understood.
       Because she loved him.
       And, sometimes, I think she still does. That it is only the memory of a career that never took off, of projects deliberately torn apart, and, the most damaging, of a son struggling with addictions and he showing little care, that kept her from accepting his return. So I thought that maybe, it was not so wrong of me to spurn marriage. After all, who am I but my father?

       But I was reminded stories have more than one voice when I went back to Washington...

(memories, memories. all out of order...)

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