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The Past

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Every night when I go to bathroom before what I feel is going to be bedtime soon, I stare out the window and through the trees and see one light in the darkness. It emanates from grandma's window. I don't know what she does at 4 A.M. honestly, but I know what I do and how I feel. I'm a restless soul and so is she. I suppose that is what I have in common with Beba. She cares about me in a way I don't quite understand and a part of me feels it's in a way that no one else does, but she doesn't show it because, like me, she is also not very good at displaying emotion.

Aunt Patty, my mother, and Uncle Echi always swap stories about how their mother never once said "I love you" or "I care for you" or the like when they were growing up. In some small way they're jealous of how she treats Albert, my other uncle and her youngest son and fourth and last child. In some way I know how they feel, but mostly it's just Patty that is jealous of Albert to the point of envy. I remember the first night at dinner on our (I should my) last family vacation, Beba called Albert from the restaurant to ask how the others were doing. Patty was in an unpleasant mood having been starved on the plane and being in a fight with her boyfriend (and having to sit next to him for that 13 hours of plane ride). The conversation ended as any would between two close family member with a sort of "take care, I love you" statement. Patty overheard this and asked Albert if their mother had ever told him that she loved him. He replied honestly that yes, she had said that many times and even worried about him going on planes and taking long trips and working late hours at Target. This made Patty burst out into tears, feeling unwanted and unloved by the very same mother she really had been trying to please all almost-30 years of her life. I felt for her deeply and I even, for the first time in my life, had a chat with Patty, much like a psychologist would. But it was a very threatening and hateful conversation. I tried my best to calm her down, but she's not like a friend--she's more like a distant family member. I felt as though my efforts were futile and to the extent at which I tried to soothe her pain a bit by listening, I failed with Patty because Patty failed with me. A part of me feels this conversation never happened and it only played out in my head, but I'm not sure what to believe.

Going back to Beba though; I love her. She raised me, not my mother. As much as I love my mom and hate her too, I never learned anything from her. Now, Beba takes care of me. She buys me groceries when I didn't have time to go to the market after class or was just too tired and wanted to sit around after a long day. Every week she gives me $20 for Friday night chinese food and going out to McDonald's with Brad on Saturdays after Dynamis. She is always thinking about me. She goes to bed when I do. Her and I are like two separate souls yearning for something interesting or exciting. The family relies on her so much to buy food, cook, feed the dogs and all of us, and take care of cleaning the house. And she does it without saying a word. Sure she complains about my dad and the decisions that my mom makes, and I always agree with what she has to say. She never complains to Albert about these things, at least not as much as she does to me, so I avoid her ritualistically, but when she leaves and is gone forever I know I am going to cry deep tears over her. Ever since my mother became such a workaholic and my dad stopped caring about me (though I don't think he ever did at all looking back on it), she's the only person in my life that tries to make me happy by lending me an ear and berating me with her sharp-tongued words.

I often wonder if she looks out that window and tries to see into mine to check if my light is still on before going to bed. She waits up for my mother every night just to say goodnight or mention something that isn't worth mentioning or she could've said on the phone to her earlier that day. She likes to socialize with people, the workers that come over to bang nails into boards for several hours every morning, or Albert's girlfriend, or Eileen when she used to come over all the time, and Stacey and Lindsay during the summer, and Greg when he'd visit for days, and Craig (el pollo), Joe (el blanco), and Brad (el chino). I guess she is a lot like me. Now I know where I inherited all this uncaring but sensitive wantedness for the world.

Thank you grandma. I turned out like one of the good people in this world because of you. Thank you. I don't know what else to say.

Grey (3:32 AM)

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