In a Word

We moved a lot when I was a kid. It seemed always a decision between being near my Mom’s (stepmother’s) family and my father finding work enough to pay for three kids and all that entails.

When my sister was born, my Mom had a full hysterectomy. I don’t know the reasons. I know now that she battled for years with prescriptions that didn’t work for her, and she often referred to a book titled “The Vitamin Bible” in an attempt to find relief from the storms wracking her physically and emotionally.

I didn’t know her predicament at the time. I knew to tread lightly and avoid expectation at all costs; one never knew if the moment was sunny or if the next moment would be stormy. I do not and cannot blame her for these swings of unpredictability.

I treasured moments in the presence of her radiant, sunny disposition. When we were young, she would come at us with a grin, wriggling her fingers, happily taunting “golden fingers, golden fingers” before a fit of tickling ensued.

I have the personality of a dog, I suppose. I wanted and want to please others, often to my own detriment and to the point of gingerly lying. Some might say ‘white lies’ but lies are all equal. Oh, and I wanted to please my Mom! She once said how beautiful my smile is. I began brushing my teeth up to five times a day; I took a toothbrush to school and brushed after lunch.

By the way, I’ve never had a cavity and I held onto my wisdom teeth until nearly age 40.

The sad fact is I still want her approval. We are estranged and have been since times I don’t wish to recall. When last I saw her I was an adult and I had made a gift for her. I dug around in my craft supplies and found a golden, woven drawstring bag. She asked if I made the gift. I beamed and said yes. Then she asked if I made the bag, too. I hesitated, and for some reason unfathomable, I said yes. There was a tag at the bottom of the little golden lie that said otherwise. No, I hadn’t made the bag, and I lied because I thought it would please her.

I never saw her again and we don’t communicate.

As I said, our family moved often between California and Washington (state). This moving created a sense of isolation. At some point I stopped making friends and became a watcher of patterns and people.

I can’t remember the grade we were in, I can’t remember the school. I do remember a young man with a cleft palate who was shunned by more people than befriended by so he ended up involuntarily mirroring my isolation.

He had a crush on me. He found me at lunch breaks. I was in a particular mood one day when he said, “Your blush is uneven.” Agh, for an honest friend, one who would tell you such a thing. A treasure of a person.

Very acidly, I said, “I don’t wear makeup.” I turned away from him. He left me alone from then on.

Later that day I felt ashamed. I didn’t apologize though. I still feel shame 30 or more years later. I wish I could remember his name. I stopped remembering schoolmate’s names years before I had met this young man. I wish I knew which school, but they are all a blur.

In both cases, my apology is a pound of cure I cannot deliver.

©2012  Sandra Davidson

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