TRIGGER WARNING: This story isn’t about pineapples. It’s about Texas, May 24, 2022 and many other communities that have had their hearts ripped out in the name of Freedom.
They stand in perfect lines. Almost. As much as nine year olds understand perfect lines. Adolfo is leaning off the side, Jose is half-facing backwards, Hal has a hint of tongue poking between white ‘say cheese’ teeth. Ms Cruz sits at the front, beaming. She loves them all, and they already love her. It’s going to be a great year.
Until it isn’t.
Now they stand in perfect lines. Crosses and stones don’t laugh or fidget or answer back. Tiny mounds of earth never turn away from the camera to crack a joke or accuse their friend of poking them.
There’s a picture by my desk of me swimming: head down, 100% focussed. It’s impossible to think and swim, worry and swim, write, dream, even parent and swim.
It’s there to remind me what that feels like. Because here I can multitask like a mother. Field demands for snacks and calls for slide decks, while drafting an email about a spreadsheet I’m completing in another tab. The picture’s half-covered by a post-it reminder to book a PAP and any minute the washing machine will siren for attention.
But in the water, I’m pure and free and all the way in.
I’m on the cover of the book, at the start of the credits. They adore me, and they never see you: the roots that ground me, the strength that holds me up, the sustenance to my beauty. You put in the effort, but all they see is how I bloom.
Or wither. They study my thorns and they pluck my petals. Even in death, I’ll be something else for them to pick at and treasure.
I know you sometimes wish you had more of the limelight; the credit where it’s more than due. But I’ll shelter you from their adoration.
A little late this week; the small matters of a house purchase completed on Tuesday and the current house listing yesterday have taken just a little of my attention recently. Here’s Melanie – a recurring character for me. Search her name if you want to learn more of her story.
This snippet was originally 190 words and cutting it nearly made me give up. I hope it’s kept enough to make sense.
Mrs Mwanna was talking to Daddy because he’s worried about Mummy. They were whispering, but they aren’t very good at it, so I heard him say “She’s too young”. Then, “My only worry at her age was saving for a GI Joe.”
Daddy’s younger than Mummy, so he wasn’t her age yet, but I prayed God to get Daddy a GI Joe for his birthday anyway.
Mrs Mwanna said “Try not to worry. When you pile shit on shit, it just stinks more, but when you pile it on flowers, they get stronger and more beautiful.”