Sunday, February 19, 2006

Another Sunday

I am packing, getting ready to go back to the city I currently call home, slowly slipping into my reflective quieter self, the party girl of Friday night retreating into the background.

I spent most of yesterday and all morning with mom. Talking, listening, often to the same repeated things. Did I see cousin P’s little boy? He’s such a little darling. Oh, and have I remembered to pack my things in the bathroom? Was I sure I wouldn’t like her to give me some homecooked food to take with me? I ate out all the time. That wasn’t good for my health. Repeated requests that I come back soon, repeated concerns that I do not, however, jeopardize my job in doing so. Old and familiar yet new and sweet at the same time. A part of me wants to stay here. Enough running around and running away. Take care of her. I need to find my roots anyway. A part of me wants to go, keep moving. My search isn’t over yet. I am coming back to visit again soon. That’ll have to do.

It doesn’t take me long to gather all my stuff. I am wearing my jeans and carrying my wool coat which really only leaves a few things. It’s a little funny. As I pack I look at my clothes. A couple of cotton t-shirts from Target. $8 each. Perfectly nice. A slightly flouncy black satin organza skirt. A green silk evening top. A red blouse. A white shirt. A cream cashmere cardigan. I am wearing the gray turtleneck to the airport. Some undergarments, skincare, and the new tall black boots. Everything else - my camera, cellphone, address book, wallet, small makeup clutch, box of pastels, keys and iPod - will go into my handbag. The drawing book I will just have to carry again. The cabin bag looks oddly deflated devoid of the gifts I had brought for my family. I know my mother is disappointed that I didn’t bring more clothes. She is always disappointed that I don’t bring more clothes. She’s disappointed that I don’t own more clothes. She wants to show me off like a barbie doll. A successful little barbie doll with an impressive job title.

Maybe it all goes back to the roof. My parents have a cute little condo now but for years we lived in a house that my friend Anne had christened the haunted house. There were exposed bricks and watermarks on the wall and vines growing on the outside. I remember standing at the door of my parents room and looking up as the roof came down leaving a foot wide gaping hole through which the rain poured freely. It was neither the first nor the last time it happened but it was the first time the bricks came down on my parents freshly made bed with its clean white sheets. My mother sitting down with the diary where she wrote down all expenses and doing the math, trying to figure out how to raise the money to get the roof fixed and wondering how long it will last.

There are plenty of carefree, happy, wonderful memories tied to that house. Even the roof made us laugh at times. Every time a pigeon flew overhead my mom would say, "There goes the roof." We all thought it was funny. But maybe it all goes back to that. To years of hurried math on the back pages of a diary to figure out how much it will cost to fix the roof.

It’s not enough that my brother and I are doing okay. My parents want other people to know we are doing okay. Sometimes it annoys us. That’s shallow. Why would we care what anyone thinks of us, particularly people who didn’t bother to acknowledge us when we were nobodies? Isn’t that what you taught us - not to believe in show? I got mad at my mom earlier today when she said, "Next time, bring some nicer clothes." These are $159 designer jeans for crying out loud. So what if the t-shirts cost $8. They are perfectly nice. Not everything has to cost an arm and leg and most certainly not for show. But I think I understand, a little.

The packing should have taken 5 minutes but it takes almost half an hour because I frequently stop and get lost in reverie. The 26 year old from Friday night has called three times. I have noticed this odd propensity in men to get attached to me out of the blue sometimes, generally when I have the least bit of interest in them. The kiss was nice but it’s not going anywhere. I don’t really have time for it. Or maybe I don’t have the inclination for it. Right now I just want to go back home, unpack, pour myself a drink and watch some TV on my couch. And pine over lost loves.

As if on cue Shawn Mullins starts to sing "Beautiful Wreck" on the radio. Yesterday I was a cracked china doll, today I am a beautiful wreck. At least you have to admit, I have a very romantic way of looking at myself.

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