Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"He's Gone Mommy" The Day My Ambition Began

Today I thought of the day my ambition began. I wanted to remember the exact time I decided to start killing myself pushing for constant improvement of myself. No one criticizes me like I criticize me. I am never satisfied with my current situation and I am always looking to strive for more. I had my annual review today at work, it was all high scores and encouraging comments. To the normal person, they would have happily went back to their desk without a second thought.  No no not me. The upward mobility and compensation I was hoping for didn't come together. I work hard, and when I say I work hard, I mean I work hard. I study and I look for improvement in anyway I can. And I am always up for a fight when someone stands in my way. But why is that? Why am I never satisfied with what I have, if even for a moment's time? I think it may be because I am so scared to go back to where I came from. It may also be that I have something to prove to other little girls like me...

The day my father left my mother and I seems like a dream. One luminous afternoon, the kind of late spring afternoons when the sun lazily hangs on your shoulders, and you can play an extra hour outside after your homework is done, it happened. At that time, we lived in a light gray Spanish Colonial style used-to-be-home now apartment building in the back lower level apartment nearest the trash bins. The frequent visitation from a friendly mouse or insect was not far fetched. It was quite the place. My mother and father gave up the privacy of a bedroom for me, while they slept uncomfortably on a pull out couch in the cramped living room. This was the life we were living.

My mother, weary from the day's work and beating sun, opened the heavy iron door. The essence of emptiness smacked us in the face while the vision of tossed belongings sank in our conscience. A hurried trail of clothes led from the closet to the door. My mother ran to the front room closet and flung open the door. She looked right then left then sighed. As I stared at the back of her head, a 9 year old girl with pig tails and overalls, I waited for my next instruction and a straw of understanding.

The magnitude of this occurrence had yet to present itself in my psyche. I moved to put down my backpack under the side table, as I always did, my mind subconsciously grasping for normality. I noticed my father's keys on the table. I picked them up. The rise of my arm from the table to my eye line allowed my brain to catch up and my mother to rest her head on the closet wall. I shook the keys just enough to make a sound and whispered, "He's gone, Mommy."

My mother wailed. This deep moan was heard once before my my ears not more than one year before. That time her loss was her father. Now it was mine. She crossed the room with cement on her feet and hugged me. We sat on the couch, the same as her marital bed and hugged. She said to me, "Jaz'min, Don't you ever depend on a man for anything. Don't you ever let your existence in this world, depend on a man." My memory ends there. This was the day that set the tone for the rest of my life.

To be continued...

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