Thursday, July 15, 2010

The uproar

I had a friend in college, she was from Puerto Rico. She was about 5 feet tall on a good day, and at the time that I met her she was still a little round thing because the semester before she was nearly to term with the child she was carrying.

We met in a sociology class. Oh the irony...both of us waited until senior year to take a research credit, and here we were, last semester of undergrad, in a room full of bright-eyed freshmen who still carried backpacks to class. By senior year I knew to bring a toothbrush, condoms, and Maker's Mark. Priorities people...oh, and the Zippo my bother gave me. Maria had my number from the get-go. She saw the indifferent look on my face, smelled the booze that was still oozing through my pores, and knew, for some strange reason, to whisper to me in Spanish while I tried not to puke on my desk, either out of boredom or being hungover.

She told me about her one true love, Alejandro, with whom she had the baby. I told her every detail of my tumultuous engagement to a Pakistani physicist, and the subsequent rebound attempts at love. She listened to my crude tales, I was honest with her, had nothing to hide, and she just laughed at stories, mostly of the flagrant alcoholism and getting laid by men from every continent; how this one never drank, this one didn't have forks, that one cried like a woman...I told her everything. I had not yet learned, or perhaps I had dropped along the way, the idea that shame was something I had to keep with me. I did not believe in shame then. It was something other people had that kept them from having fun, from living.

Maria called me la jalea, the uproar. When I told this to my daughter tonite (just the uproar part, not that she, Anna, was indeed a product of all of this interesting living) she laughed so loud and with such honesty I started laughing.

"Mom, Mom, that's perfect!" She licked the chocolate ice cream from her messy lips.

"Why? Do you even know what it means?" I watched her new earrings glint in the dying light of the sun. She was almost a woman then. We were almost women together.

"Because, it's so true. You're a brainspeaker. Whatever happens in your brain goes straight to your mouth. Every single time."

"Is that a bad thing?" I licked the ice cream bowl we were sharing.

"It is if you don't like the f-word." At this I laughed.

"You are correct, Anna, and I'm working on it."

"I know. Besides, every time you use it, it's in some funny way. Just don't use it so much, Braintalker!" She howled at her little joke.

I wish Maria could have seen this. That there I was 10 years later, with the child of one of my bad men, somehow content, laughing about being utterly inappropriate like children often are.

I will, of course, continue to at least try to curb the f-bomb. A small price to pay for having left shame on the curb for the others to pick up.