Tuesday, August 17, 2010

8. Innocence

Originally posted March 13, 2008.

Mama is on the couch in the morning, same as last night. Her belly moves when she breathes, so I know she’s not dead. I can’t remember when she wasn’t wearing that very same sweater. She’s on her back and her side at the same time, if that’s even possible, all twisty and uncomfortable-looking. A blue blanket is half off her and half on.

Maria is on her side and one the floor, curled up like a baby, no blanket at all. There’s carpet on the living room floor, at least.

I don’t say anything, but maybe I sigh against my will. Mama’s eyes pop open like she wasn’t sleeping at all, just lying there awake but not really wanting to be.

"Morning," I say.

Mama waits for a moment, just long enough for me to know that she heard me, and she closes her eyes again.

I walk over to Maria and nudge her ribs with my foot. Her face crinkles and she opens her eyes -- somehow in her squint she looks like her eyes are more closed than they were when she was sleeping -- and she raises her head and looks up at me.

"Quit," she says.

"You should sleep in a bed," I say.

She shakes her head and sets it back down on the floor. "Mama needs me," she says. But she blinks her eyes a few more times, and leaves them open.

"I don’t know what she needs," I say, "but I don’t think it’s us."

Mama’s eyes stay closed, but I seem them flicker under the lids. She hears my words, I know, but I seem to make her know what I’m saying. I’m not being mean. I just want her to want to get up off the couch.

"What else would it be," Maria says.

But that’s kind of the problem. I really don’t know.

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