the perfect portrait

August 24, 2005 at 7:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

every birthday always feels like a new beginning, a culmination of a cycle that begins too soon, ends too long. mom’s cycle, on the other hand just began yesterday.
 
she’s hanging by her teeth on her 60s, and next year she turns another corner into a new decade.  at first i thought the day would pass by on a negative note.  but sweet, sweet nina made the day extraordinarily intimate by cooking up a mean rendition of carbonara, complemented by lettuce salad, chicken and white wine. 
 
in any case, having my friends care so much for me like that really taught me to be thankful for what i do have.  marnie was all over me asking me how i was in the cashflow department, and cess was offering to bring a cake (until the rains stopped her), and of course, nina was our own personal chef for the night.  and what even touches me more is that she wasn’t feeling all that well in the first place.
 
we sat around the tv and ate, but nina had to go before midnight so i walked her out and stayed with her until she got a cab.  mom was very touched.  i promised i’d pull through for her.  and she again says that line about me, her youngest, vis-a-vis her other kids.  anyway i brush it off.  i don’t need to be reminded i’m the favorite son. *smirk*
 
i stood by the sink and started doing away with the pile of dishes that built up while nina andi were cooking.  it just got me to think about things relating to family and stuff, and it felt a little sad.  somewhere in my mind i think about opportunities lost, ties unmended and some other “mistakes” and whether they could ever be rectified.
 
i wash the suds off my hands, turn the plates down and wipe off the counter with a cloth.  in my head, i see the picture of a conflict-less life, another life in which i’m not feeling like a piece of a broken jigsaw puzzle.  well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.  we’re not exactly broken, but psychologically i think there are gaps in between some of us.  if you grew up in a family in which you weren’t really that close with your parents’ other kids, you’d know what i’m talking about.
 
but on the other hand, this is another one of those cards i was dealt with.  i can’t even leave it.  i can only take it.  make the most out of the corners and chasms of this nifty little word they call ‘family’ and mold it according to what i think it should be.
 
and at this point, family = mom and me, plus, plus. when everyone else is off getting married and having their own kids, or running into trouble with their wives and kids and work and everything else, the term has to adjust to reality.
 
nothing and nobody comes into this world perfect.  and knowing that allows me to settle and rest.
 
i have a family portrait in my head.  that’s where it will stay, because i’m finally, finally — after all these years — happy with what i have.
 

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