pixietastic: (me2011)
At my grandmothers 99th birthday party yesterday afternoon I watched her gently lift the fork full of cake to her mouth and thought to myself, if I get to 99 I'll eat the damn cake with my fingers, fist-fulls at a time, and no one had better say a damn thing, but no, my grandmother gingerly, slowly, with the same demeanor and calm as ever, raised her dementia ridden hand, with it's perfectly poised fork, to her mouth and carefully chewed each dainty bite of her birthday cake. She doesn't speak anymore, and according to my fathers many siblings, doesn't understand a word of English these days, but she smiled and nodded at our off key "happy birthday" all the same.

I want that level of decorum, of tact in my every day approach. This woman, who having birthed 12 babies spanning 20+ years, has forgotten all of the faces, all of the names that should be familiar, she doesn't recognize any of her brood of children (all well past 50 themselves now) never mind myself or any of the other 25+ Grandchildren or Great-grandchildren (or in the case of two of the smallest; great-great-grandchildren) and yet she is still so calm, so accepting of the world and still so proper with her fork and knife, these are the skills she's held on to, even in her last few years she's clung to the social propriety and teachings that have been well engrained since childhood. She is quiet, polite, and respectful in a scenario that I can only imagine to be terrifying.

My mate is going on a trip, a vacation, with some of his buddies, they usually go several times a year, this trip will be 12 days, the last one was 8 and at the time the baby wasn't even 6 weeks old. His buddies all bring their spouses, he used to bring his girlfriend as well, and now he has me, and the invitation hasn't been extended. It's hard to not feel hurt, harder still not to express it, I know it's not personal, I know I can't go, the baby and I are a unit, I can't take her and leave the other two, I can't take all three, the big kids have school, so the invitation needn't be extended, he knows I can't go. And yet I find myself angry, bitter, I haven't had a good night sleep in... I haven't had a day off in... It's not FAAAAAAIR.

Childlike and pouting, I didn't want tiger tail ice cream I wanted bubble yum! and suddenly I'm 5 years old again screaming "it's not faaaaair" lip jutted out, arms crossed, eyes brimming with tears, "I wanna go on vacation tooooooo".

And he plays the calm, pretends not to notice my internal hissy fits, as I make the occasional pointed comment, try as I might to hold them back. And in-turn I fail to notice, the guilt, the hurt at each of my barbs, the inner struggle between being "the good mate" and taking a break so he doesn't resent us. And we dance in this unspoken limbo between trips, where nothing is said of the place he goes to unwind, and I whine about how badly I'd like to get away, and we day dream of someday, but I don't believe a word of it.

What he doesn't see, what he's yet to clue in on, is that it's not the kids holding me back, it's me, because if I left, even for a moment, I'm not sure I'd have it in me to come back.

I don't think at 99 I'll have it in me to still eat my birthday cake with a fork, I'm too impulsive, too irrational, and quick to jump in with both feet without looking for a place to land.

And what I fail to notice, is that it's possible, just maybe, at 99 she still knows enough to eat her cake with a fork, so they don't take that one bit of freedom that feeding herself affords, that one small piece of her former self, away. Maybe that kind of decorum will come for me as well, maybe that's what nearly a century of life has taught her, to observe the cultural rules.

Read it again what did you see? A sweet entry insubstantial I expected more from you Ani. Your story loops lazily like a third grade essay about how you spent your weekend. Read it again what did you not say how are they supposed to read between the lines and know all the things you didn't get a chance to type out. Read it and rewrite it in the cab on your cell phone won't be near a computer till after deadline this is your last chance, this had better be your swan song this had better be your A game you'd better step it up kid there's a thousand of em waiting to take your place, the click click click of the iPhone keys non-keys making artificial click click clicks.

You didn't observe the topic just hinted at it, now you feel compelled to explain your attempted meta with your click click cab clicking.

They're not going to see the irony of all the things that aren't said here aren't observable to people through a screen, the best meta would have been a blank screen for this topic, or a poem about fireflies and moonlight that in no way shadows the point.

They're not going to see how broken up you are about him leaving, how tempted you are to just go while he's gone. Everyone's first question when you said he totaled the car was "had he been drinking" and you haven't told a single soul that you're the one who sold him the beers.

All these unsaid unsteady things you could have should have would have written about, they're not going to see that Ani, all they're going to see is a sweet little story about how your role models biggest freedom is getting to eat her own damn birthday cake all by herself.

This is my topic for this weeks LJ Idol. Topic was "Unobservant"


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