Friday, March 12, 2010

Seeing me

Now I’m crying on the fire escape, first I’m crying because my grandmother is dying, and then I’m crying because I’m a little kid and I want to talk to her about art. Or, I’m not a little kid and I want to talk to her about art. I want her to understand that she was the only person who told me I could be an artist, and even if she took it all back I still believed her. I want to sit down and talk about this work I make that she refuses to understand. None of that will ever happen now. She’s dying, and it’s happening fast. She refused the operation to remove fluid from her lungs, and tomorrow she moves to hospice. Today I got the other call from my mother, the one that said my grandmother’s dying. She wants to die; she’s ready. Or, if she’s not ready, she wants to die anyway -- she doesn’t want more any more operations, any more pain; she doesn’t want to live if she can’t make more art.

I’m crying on the fire escape in my pink sun hat, first I’m crying because my grandmother is dying, sobbing actually, and then the sobs get deeper and that’s the part like a little kid, the part about what she means to me. I will call her on the phone in the hospice tomorrow and she won’t be able to talk but I’ll tell her anyway, someone will hold the phone up to her ear, and I will probably start crying again.

After the fire escape, I go to the post office, where they tell me that the money orders my mother purchased at the post office might be counterfeit. They won’t cash them. There’s no book to look up the numbers anymore, and even though the money orders went through the scanner there’s no Benjamin Franklin hologram. I thought the point of a Postal Service money order was that you could cash it at a post office. I go to the bank to deposit checks, but most of them are more than six months old so they won’t deposit them; I need to call and get new checks.

I should’ve gone earlier, but I guess it took me more than six months to get a new bank account, I wanted a smaller bank because the big banks are robbing the country, they can cash their checks any time, their money orders are never questioned. Now I’m back at the larger bank, because the smaller bank returned these checks but I thought they would be fine here. Some of them are even issued by this bank. Today I feel like I’m not the type of person to live in this world, I want to go back to that cash economy where you count your twenties for every payment. Or, I just want to have more energy, so that I don’t end up waiting for the bus on the way back so hypoglycemic that I’m flattened, until I remember that I didn’t bring a bag so that I could walk. So I walk.

When I get back inside, I’m crying again. This time it’s on the phone with my mother, when she says -- what does she say? My grandmother is dying. Not in those words, but then I say hold on, and then when I get back on the phone I say sorry, my mother says you don’t have to say sorry, and then I’m sobbing again I say hold on. I walk into the other room, I’m sobbing and choking now too and my mother’s saying something into the headset, I can hear her voice vibrating and then I hear a call waiting click, and then when I get back on the phone she is saying something: you can take as long as you want and then I’m sobbing again, and then I take longer, and then I’m back on the phone.

My mother says that’s what we should all be doing, it is sad, you’re crying for all of us, and I don’t know what I think of that but I say that I’m glad she’s doing what my grandmother wants, that she’s not trying to force her to stay alive, some people do awful things to their relatives just because they want them to stay alive, not because of what their relatives want, and my mother says like what? I say I don’t know, she said she didn’t want any more operations, right? She doesn’t want to be in any more pain, and I’m glad you’re respecting her wishes.

When we got off the phone, I say I love you, just because it’s what I’m feeling, it’s not something we usually say to one another and my mother says I love you, and then I go into the bathroom to run a bath, and when I get back in the kitchen there’s a message from my mother: I just wanted to call to say goodnight.

Maybe the ringer isn’t on; I’m using the corded phone, because even a cordless landline with a headset emits a certain amount of radiation -- there are two cell phone towers across the street from me, there’s wireless everywhere, and I wonder if it matters that the covering of the cordless phone antenna fell off. I wonder about the high-pitched shrieking device that human ears can’t hear, the one that keeps mice and rats away -- could that be affecting my health too? Yesterday, when I talked to my sister, she told me she was trying to stop eating sugar because she didn’t want to get cancer; our father ate a lot of sugar, drank a lot of Diet Coke.

Did he eat a lot of sugar? I can’t even remember that. The phone rings, and it’s my mother again, she says I wanted to tell you that I really admire you and you’re important to me and I love you, and I say thanks. We talk more about my grandmother, and I wonder if she knows why I was crying. I wonder if I know. I mean I do know, but I’m surprised; I’m surprised that it’s affecting me so much. I get in the bath, and when I get out of the bath Hilary calls -- I just read your blog, are you okay? No, I’m not okay -- I just got out of the bath, and I need to take a nap. I’ll call you later.

Hilary and her sister are waiting for the results of their mother’s biopsy. I get in bed; immediately my stomach bloats up, maybe I shouldn’t ever lie down. Eventually I fall asleep; I could sleep longer, but I want to sleep later on too. I get up; I feel horrible; my stomach hurts so much. I’m crying again. I’m crying because do they ever give you what you want, this thing called family, does it ever work? I just want to talk to my grandmother about color and texture and light and the open feeling I’m trying to create in my work. Mostly that open feeling. She will never allow herself to understand. I didn’t even realize how much it would mean to me.

Randy calls, he says you won’t believe this but I’m in the emergency room. What? Yes, Randy says -- I was in Buena Vista Park, and someone hit me in the face. I didn’t even see him, but then he hit me in the face and I was running and telling people help, someone hit me, and there was all this blood in my face and I got scared but the first three guys just stared at me and then the fourth one took me to the emergency room. I’m okay now, but I don’t want to look in the mirror-- they have to do stitches. I think I should go -- they’re about to see me.


Anonymous said...

You are seen.

You are loved.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Oh, darling...

this made me cry...

Thank you.


kayti said...

my grandmother died two weeks ago. the first comment was so true, enough to make me cry too

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Kayti, sorry to hear about your grandmother, and hope you are doing okay!

And thank you thank you thank you, for the love and seeing and everything...

Love --