Dirty Corners

Cover Image

The one image I will never forget is my mother
legs crossed, knees against her chest
rocking back and forth in a
dirty corner of our tiny kitchen.

She cried.
Heavy tears rolled off her eyelashes
tumbled down her cheeks, avalanching towards her chin,
dropping hot and salty
onto our yellow laminate floor.
there was no bucket big enough to hold them all.
She was inconsolably sad and I was
incredibly scared because
it was the first time I'd ever seen my mother cry
like this.

That morning she received a letter from my father's co-workers,
saying they'd seen him holding hands with another woman and,
on one occasion, that he had kissed her in a parking lot.

He tried to apologize once.

But what good was his apology when my mother's worst fear had come true?
Here was the truth:
... for twelve years, my father did not love my mother.

But this is not a story about him, it's a story about her.

She pulled me out of bed that night because she needed
someone to talk to.
I sat quietly,
with my knees under my shirt,
listening to her justify to me
(or to herself)
about why she stayed.

Because it seemed easy.
Because it seemed simple.
Because it was expected.

She thought she was a good wife
a good wife
She knew she was a good wife.
and she was
angry at him
“The only reason we stayed together is because I got
pregnant and I hate him for that."

that’s when I realized,
maybe she was angry at me too.
at that moment,
I wasn't her 11-year old daughter
with my nightshirt pulled over my knees anymore.
I really was just someone-to-talk-to.

And in the dirty corner of our tiny kitchen
I sat.
Knees drawn in as tight as I could
rocking back and forth.

Created: Dec 17, 2010

Tags: mom, infidelity, divorce, kitchen, dad

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