Play Nice

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[This is where the summary would go if I'd bothered to write one.]

« Week VIIWeek 8 »
A Very Lucky Girl

In time you’ll understand, my grandmother used to tell me. How much time, I would reply. Ay, niña, the things you ask.

I remember being confused when she said this. The things I asked where usually celebrated, encouraged. But I knew the combination of the sigh and the ‘Ay, niña’ meant that my grandmother was tired of dealing with the things I asked.

The phone is ringing. It feels like it hasn’t stopped ringing for a very long time, but surely that’s wrong. Trusting my feelings now is a foolish thing to do. The only thing I can think about right now are those words my abuela used to tell me. “In time you’ll understand.”

I don’t know if I can wait around for much longer. After the 4th ring I’ll pick up the phone, I say to myself. My voice sounds rough, my lips are dry. I realize that I haven’t said anything in more than ten hours. But that can’t be right I think. I must of at least muttered something. The 4th rings fades to give way to the fifth and the sixth. On the 7th I’ll pick it up. After the 15th ring, I walk to the phone and unplug it. Nothing dramatic, though I think perhaps drama is called for at this time. I return to the bed and sit on the edge, my hands on my naked knees.

-Drama? For whom, I wonder. There’s no one here but you. No. That’s not right.

“Ay, nena,” I sigh and I’m strangely comforted by the words and actions. No wonder my abuelita used to say it all the time. It’s as if the released words take with them a little bit of the fatigue that’s plaguing my bones.

I stand up and walk towards the full length mirror hanging on the back of the closet door. “And now what?” I ask myself. I stare until my features are someone else’s. Until I can see the person others see. When that happens, I slowly unbutton my shirt, take it off and let it fall to the floor. Then I hook my thumbs into the waist band of my underwear and take it off as well.

Standing naked in front of the mirror, I scrutinize my body. Maybe you’re just imagining it, I think. So I reach up and cup my breasts, squeezing them slightly and wincing at how tender they are. With my left arm acting as a shelf for my breasts, my right hand travels slowly down my body. My palm feels rough against my stomach. I pass the navel and stop just below it. The slight swell in the belly makes me anxious. It’s not my imagination. I know it’s not. The tight fitting clothes don’t lie.

Here, I think. Here things are happening. I lose myself in that notion and it takes me a while to realize that I’m crying. I drop my arms to my sides and watch as the tears run down my face to fall upon my breasts. And here’s the drama, I think. Foolish, foolish girl! Stop it right now! my mind commands, but I continue to stand there, simply staring as the tears run down my body.

I raise my hands, cover my face and rub the tears away. There’s no time for this. You know that. I lean against the wall, my hands on the small of my back, my ankles crossed. An affected, casual pose meant to make me believe things are all right. I laugh. -No, this isn’t one of those times where you get by simply because you know how to pretend you have a clue.

“Ay, niña, sometimes in life you have to do things you don’t want to do,” she used to tell me. “Like school, abuelita?” “Si. Like going to school. But you should enjoy school. Not all little children get to go. You are a very lucky girl. Lucky girls should always be very aware of just how lucky they are and they should always be thankful.”

“I don’t feel very lucky right now. Thank God you’re not around for this grandma. I know exactly what you would say. And I don’t know if I can do this. I never wanted to do this. You know that.” I can hear someone pounding on the apartment door. I sigh and pull on a robe. As I walk to the front door, I can hear her voice in my head, “Sometimes in life we have to do things we don’t want to do.” -I know, I know. I’m a very lucky girl.

Published 03/24/03 in Writing • | Views: 2015 times | Print

7 Comments & Trackbacks

do you have more?

Posted by nicole  on  03/23  at  10:49 PM

no. i just wrote it for the blog. but i may print it out and try to continue it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  11:00 PM

this is just…fantastic (speaking of sexy!  said the “weird internet chicky girl”).  This is deep, wonderfully written.  Wow.  I’m so admiring, and….jealous!

Posted by Laurie  on  03/23  at  11:44 PM

what a complete characterization.  Its arousing, compelling, poignant, tragic, hopeful - you get so many emotions out of your writing… I love to read what you write

Posted by Dan  on  03/24  at  07:21 AM

I like this a lot.

Posted by Greg  on  03/24  at  08:58 AM

“I stare until my features are someone else’s.”

Some deep analysis.  You really dug down. 

This thing could maybe stand on its own as flash fiction. 

Posted by Bobby  on  03/24  at  10:52 AM

Yeah, what the others’ said. Wow.

Posted by anna  on  03/24  at  08:49 PM

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