A Three-part story about a Multi-part Girl
*** Clarity doesn?t know my name. I may be spewing out letters, which combined, form sounds and in the ears of all humans words. But what's the meaning. The meaning is predetermined by someone, we don?t know who. So in reality, our words are not our words, but the words of others. Given a definition for us to use, given a structure for us to follow. So what does it mean if they tell you they love you. Are they following the structure meant for the words. Or are the constructing new sounds, new meanings, and therefore, I love you means nothing at all.
Published on LatinoLA: December 16, 2004
What is this?
I have never heard I love you in the predetermined sense of the word. The words: I and Love and You, strung together to express deep emotion for one person. An attachment so deep that death fears love. If death fears love, should we not fear it as we fear death? I have never heard the words, I love you, in any language? te amo, te quiero, I love you, je te ame. Not even from my mother. Although, her love is true. It?s true beyond all factual and logical notions of true. My mother's love shines even through her retold memories and it's through her memories that I know her love.
If you please? a story about, my mother. ***
In Mexico, it?s not called history, it?s called a memory. History is a time of far off places, a tale of heroes and battles. A tale that we would never really know ourselves. In Mexico, History stops with Cortez, but the land? the land creates memories. Perhaps when you have children, my memories will become their history.
I lived in a small village in the state of Zacatecas. My family was small compared to the large farming families of our neighbors. It was my father, my mother, my brother and two sisters? and me. My father found work where he could, mainly in the gold, silver and opal mines. The land was rich and the people were poor. But, what did I say before? The land creates memories, nothing has changed, and that?s why it?s not history.
Don?t stop turning the handle, add more maize when that batch has been ground down. Like this. See. Just keep turning it? now, what was I saying? Oh, yes.
My mother looked after us, and the house. But she made some little money making cheese. She made great cheese. The milk was fresh, and she knew the perfect time to pack it. Now me, I never learned to do it. I was too busy scraping my knees in the river and running away from my teachers. I never did like school, so I didn?t finish it.
Well, since I didn?t know how to make it, I had to go with my sisters to sell it. It wasn?t an easy task you know. Not like now, where you can jump into that car and just go buy cheese. We had to walk for hours through the mountains, jumping from rock to rock, climbing and sliding. Walked for hours.
Don?t stick your fingers down the cup or you?ll grind them off! I don?t want to eat your fingers in my tortillas. If I wanted Chicharrones I?d go to Silver Market and order some. Just be careful!
Yes, that?s right. I walked. One day we went to visit a family that my sister sold a lot of cheese to. Do you know who she sold it to? Your Mama Mari. Well, I knew who the family was. Your Papa Pepe had a large ranchito and he was pretty well known. Well, the day I went it just so happened that your Tio Juan was playing with one of those big knives, like the one in your father?s room. Well, he though he was so tough, he would throw that thing up in the air and catch it. And then, pum! He missed!
Of course he didn?t die! That?s your Tio Juan from Colorado.
Well, the thing landed right on his nose. Almost took the thing off! Everyone was in such a panic, they all rushed him inside, and my sister and me followed. And who do you think I saw inside? Your father. He had been away in school for so long that I forgot he even existed. Well, I knew that he was the man I was going to marry the moment I saw him. He was tall and had a head of black curly hair, like yours. And the best thing of all, he had a very nice gun strapped right to his belt.
We were married very young. We were also poor, but we didn?t care. Soon, your brothers started coming along. We had a little house in the village near the big church. We did many things to keep ourselves alive. Well, your father has always been very impatient, and determined. When I had Alicia, he decided to go norte. She was number eight.
Of course I was upset. I had eight crying kids and he decides to go. Well luckily your brother was old enough to help me make some money. Poor thing, sold things on the street.
Finally, after a few letters and some money, your father told me that he found a place for all of us. And that he found work. So he sent for me. Well, we didn?t have papers, so we went the same way that everyone else goes, mojados. I couldn?t take all eight of the mouths that I had to feed, so I took the two youngest ones, David and Alicia.
Here, now I need you to help me mix the masa until it?s nice and smooth. Ok, ok, my story?
I went in the back of a truck. I took David by the hand and Alicia was wrapped up and I held her like a little sack of beans. The poor kids were so hungry, I only had a few cold tacos to give them. David kept crying because he was hungry and the old women would tell him to be quiet, but what was he to do?
When we finally got to Los Angeles, well? San Fernando, your father picked us up and took us to our new apartment. It was very small. But, that?s what we had to live with. Soon enough we were able to send for the rest of the bunch. They crossed using fake papers. Poor Maria, she had to shave her head so that she looked like a boy. She cried and cried for days. But they were all here, and that's what mattered.
Four years later, I had your two brothers and then there was you. The only three Americans in the family. So there we were, thirteen people in one little space.
*** Then, then there was me.
I am a void, and a broken heart.
I like to proclaim that I am the greatest person in the world,
And cry into my pillow at night.
I sleep with full make-up on and wake up, smeared lipstick,
In a color that might have existed the night before.
I handle emotions with a clumsy hand,
Cross my i's and dot my t?s.
I am a void, the occupation of nothing.
I am nervous to the touch,
Memories fail to fully register.
I am a void, filled with a hope for the human race.
I am a social communist,
But please do not take what little I have left.
I find realistic logic in surrealist art.
Confusion, being unclear, irrational, I am a void. A negative space.
Luci Tragicomedia owns a hammer and is looking for her runaway sickle. If found, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org