I Beg Please

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“Please?”

She barely glances at me before saying, “No.”

“Come on, it’s not like anything is gonna happen; it’s harmless.”

“No.”

“I’ll give you a dollar,” I tease.

“No! Okay? No freaking means no,” She practically screams.

Watching her walk away, I’m struck again by how beautiful she is. It’s nothing you’d notice with a passing glance. You have to look at her, really look at her to see it. Only then would you notice the crows feet give her eyes beauty, and by noticing her eyes you would see the depth in them. the experience and knowledge you could only guess at. A depth I have only been privy to a few precious times.

Then you would notice her laugh lines make her mouth look adorable, and by noticing those you figure it means she smiles and laughs a lot, that she is a genuinely joyous person, and that makes her more appealing. Little would you know it has been years since I’ve seen that true smile grace her face.

Her small, compact body makes you want to huddle tight, stay in close and protect her, guard her from the horrors of this world. But try and get too close, she’ll lash out, claw flashing, becoming one of those horrors.

When I finally see her brown head turn into the next row I hurry to follow, knowing she won’t wait for me. Nor will she apologize--the embarrassment is all mine.

No, she’ll let me do the groveling.

When I slide into the car, she’s just staring straight ahead, p***ed. I stare out my window for a few seconds, then reach forward to crank up the heat. Just because she’s mad and, well, she’s herself, she leans forward and turns it back down.

I gawk at her, then just shake my head. It’s a lost cause. But I do offer up, “Maybe I can treat us to some Taco Bell?”

She actually glances at me and for a second, I see the women I used to know--the woman with the easy smile and caring hands. The woman who picked me up and, as they say, put me on teh bike again. But then the real one opens her mouth and ruins my blast from the past.

“That place is disgusting. It passes through the digestive system so quick; you might as well eat laxatives. Do you wish for me to be toilet bound all night?”

I sigh, wishing I hadn’t opened my trap, knowing she really is awaiting an answer. No rhetorical questions for her.

“No, of course not. Maybe,” I rack my brain for her favorites. “Maybe some King?”

She gives me a deadpan look, “ I told you, I’m on a diet. Do you not understand that? ‘Cause i swore I didn’t birth a retard. Or are you out to sabotage me? Are you that conniving? Why can’t you just eat something healthy for once? Why can’t, for once in your life, you make something for dinner? God, you’re ridiculous.”

Her voice grates against my skull. For a split second, her speech is comical. Me, the ridiculous one? Does she not listen to herself? Or is that all it’s for? So she can hear herself speak.

Then reality hits. Her comments aren’t just hypocritical; she’s attacking me, again. And, not for the first time, I wish I could explode--burst out with a, “Can’t you see I’m a human being? I deserve respect too!” Just let go and see what word vomit comes out.

But that won’t happen--it’s not how I am. As she would say, I don’t have the cojones.

I simply settle for and innocently mumbled, “I just wanted a hug. I don’t see why that should make you mad.”

She just gives me a look. I know that face; it says, simply and viciously, “Screw you!” It means, in the most basic English, the most hurtful insult, I don’t exist for the night, at the least.

As she cranks the engine, I turn from her, back to my window. What I see there haunts me. Me, with tears streaking down my cheeks, her in the background, far and disconnected, unreachable and unattainable. Not noticing anything but her ego. Definitely not me, not the love in my eyes.

Why did she change? And why into this mask of a person? I guess a hard life can do that to a person--but wait, I’ve been traveling this road with her and I’m not the Ice Queen.

I muffle a sob, remembering her gradual change into my-mother-who-is-not-a-mother, the slow decline from easy going to hard and brutal. Life is hard, yeah, but why couldn’t she still show me the love I so yearn for?

I don’t look at her, but I can picture her face in my head, easy. And even though I know there is disgust in those eyes, I want to go back in our shared past, grab those SOB’s that ever dared cause the cage around her heart and beat the living hell out of them.

I could also picture turning to her, whispering, “Mommy, I’m not those guys--why can’t you love me?” I’d be waiting for an answer that would never come.

A mother’s love, always earned, never bought. So what was I doing wrong? All these thoughts and more flitter through my mind as we back out, but since I don’t have the brains to build a time machine, or the idiocy to say these things, I settle for the long drive.





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