Nichole LanaverdeShe’s Not Gone

I’ve never given thought of how life without a mother would be. Kids are supposed to outlive their parents. But why at age thirteen did I feel the need to “grow up.” I have a father, I have a brother. I just had this distinctive bond with my mother. I mean she gave birth to me. I am half of her. No, I’m not exaggerating. I just never feel whole. Always hoping she is the next person to walk through the door. I know people go through worse, but it’s appropriate to be narrow-minded at times.

It was all so sudden, one moment she was peacefully watching TV, next moment red lights were flashing outside our home. I avoided focusing on her lying on the paramedics’ bed as they took her. Deep down I knew something was out of the ordinary. She has gone to the hospital by ambulance before, but I never felt this feeling. I was the one who had to contact my father, to describe the last half-an-hour. I felt achy and gnawy, trying not to concentrate on what could possibly be going on in the hospital.

Waiting at my home for what seemed like days was unendurable. I tried contacting my father but caught the answering machine each time. I knew something was off-target as soon as he messaged me back. He never texts me. It was stinging as he walked in with swollen red eyes. I knew he was tender, but I found myself not caring. I hugged him anyway, feeling as if I were the parent comforting a child. No words can describe his appearance. All I could think was, “what the fuck?” She had an artery clog, also called a heart attack. She had trouble breathing normally as she lay on the bed. My aunt accompanied her to the hospital. It is hard to this day to even communicate with my aunt about the last minutes she spent with her sister. Why ask, do I really want to know?

It’s not that I didn’t believe the news of my mother passing away, but why? I did understand the concept of death, even of her life ending. Everyone dies at some point. That’s the thing about death; it has its own time.

I don’t dream of her. I don’t talk about her. I write to her, stacks of unread letters to her. It’s difficult to think of a future without a mother’s unconditional love.

Do I cry? Move on? Either way, nothing’s going to bring her back. I see the effect she left on my father. His light is gone. He moves so weakly. Before she died, he woke up joyfully singing the same song every morning. He is a happy-feel person. But now he always has a worried look. I can’t say I don’t feel empathy, but I certainly feel his sympathy towards me. That’s not what I want. I don’t talk to him unless it’s about sports or cars. I’ve lived with my father and brother for more than two years now, and every day I crave girl talk. I see characteristics in me that weren’t there before. Is it terrible to feel a little relieved? She knew secrets that I was ashamed of. Knowing she would never speak of, but I worried she thought differently of me. That dooesn’t make it right.

My brother is shut down about his feelings—laughing all the time, like always. Knowing there is bitterness deep down in both of us. I know I’m not the only one who felt. I’m reminded every damn day of her due to my personality, which I’m grateful to have received. She has affected everyone she knew so much, we all speak more wisely with her words. She’s not gone.

Past Tense

I was insatiable with your voice. Not because of the sound but what came out. You talked as if you were describing the world to a blind person, always with such great depth. The way your lips parted or the way your tongue touched the top of your mouth when speaking in Spanish. The way you spoke with great vocabulary or the way your mind was set. The way you talked when you were intensely passionate about something. The way you made every subject so appealing. You were never impassive with your facial expressions. But your appearance was not what attracted me. It was your mind. I was a sapiosexual towards you, my love.

You could see you had everybody mesmerized. The vibrations your tone allowed on my neck. The combination of words that had goose bumps all over my body. Your whisper was my undoing. You knew the effect you had on me. Everything was in slow motion near you. I embraced every moment, knowing nothing lasts forever. But I was brainless, naïve, so willing to even think twice. Your vibe was infectious. But you knew that.

Walked in Blind

It was difficult to breath for a bit. I guess all the stress and thinking became anxiety. Oftentimes I get anxiety attacks at any given moment. Thinking of my mother, even thinking of my father, made me feel stress. Not the situation itself, but the fact that I had made their problems my own. Most days I was locked up in my home. I felt like a prisoner.

My brother began to attend church, for my uncle is a pastor, but I felt isolated from the outside world. He kept insisting, trying to persuade me to join him, and I finally gave in.

First time walking in was frightening as hell. We were a few minutes late, but everyone had chosen their seats and were on their feet “praising the Lord.” I felt all eyes on me, which I’m not fond of. Standing in front of an empty seat, feeling out of place. Feeling that I wasn’t worthy of clapping or standing, for that matter. People there had grown up surrounded by nothing but church, but I was just out of the blue walking in. Of course I knew some people, as they had known me my whole life—being the pastor’s niece and all. But the vibe this time is obviously different. They praise Him, cry to Him, let the whole week’s worth of stress, anger, and even happiness out.

I couldn’t pray or even cry. I couldn’t feel what they felt towards Him. I was ashamed to be standing there, blind. I was ashamed that I couldn’t connect, or feel passionate. It was my first time, and I knew it was understandable I was confused and lost, but I wanted to lose myself in the music, in the environment. That feeling made me go again.

Why I Couldn’t Leave

See him twice a month or so,
Knowing it could end anytime,
Knowing I could tell someone what he does,
But not wanting to bring up the past.
Knowing I’m already too late.
He is dangerous to himself and everyone around.
But I was at the point where dangerous did not scare me.

He spoke as if he was twenty years older. His eyes were dilated as if he took drugs. His breath smelled of nothing but alcohol, not even his scent. He stepped close, closing the gap in between. I was no longer inhaling fresh air. I froze, not knowing what his intentions were. I held his stare, wanting to help him, but also afraid of which person would come out.

He yelled his lungs out and once he began to sink down, I was no longer afraid. He needed help, help I wanted to give. Tears fell from his eyes, kneeling down, I kneeled next to him. I felt no fear. Thanking God I did not meet his rage side. He looked so vulnerable. All I wanted to do was cry by his side, but what’s worse than a person crying? Two people crying. I couldn’t help if I forced myself to feel as down as he looked. No talking, just the movement of his shoulders shaking. We were sitting on the floor like statues. I couldn’t relate. I couldn’t understand what he was going through, but I couldn’t leave him alone.

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