Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Sophie and Me in Blue
When I was a small Catholic girl like most small Catholic girls I was enamored of the saints. I knelt in church (and sat and stood and sat and kneeled and stood and sat and kneeled) and stood and saw spots or tiny lights and then I'd blink, sweat would bead, roll down the nape of my neck, the priest's voice a drone, I think I'm going to faint, I'd think and blink, my hands smooth and brown on the pew in front of me. Helen who carried the cross will be my name, I said when I was twelve. Twelve! I'd kneel then and think of the saints. Yesterday afternoon, I was drifting, I was angry, I was drifting and angry about the day, the day after the show about weed and seizures, the day that began, again, with seizures. I was angry about my cousin, my age, dying of cancer far away, a cousin who I loved in my childhood, who loved to read like me, who wrote me letters sealed with a kiss. Her name is Maria. I drove my car to the bank in the little village just down from the church where I used to go (to stand, to kneel, to sit, to stand, to kneel) and I was angry when I got out of the car and walked, a beautiful day, it's always, always a beautiful day, and four beautiful people sat in front of a restaurant and spoke what was that? Italian? Yes, Italian. Italian rolling off their tongues like saints. Jesus Christ, I thought, this town is impossible. I walked into the bank and then out and the Italians were getting up from their table and walking, walking in front of me, two women and two men, all beautiful, the Italian still rolling off their tongues like saints, one woman had a band of smooth brown skin, naked above her ass, and I was still drifting, angry, when I got into my car and drove back home. At a stoplight, I looked over into the car next to me, a woman in full Muslim garb, her head covered, sat at the wheel, her daughter in the back seat covered as well. The light was still red and I was still angry, and the daughter was young but not young enough to sit in a booster seat. She looked ridiculous in the booster seat, stupid in her veil. Take off your bullshit cloak of modesty, I might have hissed, your daughter is too big for that car seat. The light turned green, I looked away, I drove away. When I got home I sat with Sophie, I stood with Sophie, I stood and sat and kneeled. I blinked, a bead of sweat rolled down the nape of my neck and down my back, I was wearing a blue dress. I am not a saint.