The Love We Share
There is a tale told of a promise made between mother and daughter. A contract of soul, where one can not move onto the next realm unless the service owed has been paid twice. No matter how virtuous the mother has been, or obedient the daughter. The cost for sin was and will always be paid twice. Each needing the other for repentance, and the promise made bond in the womb. As times changed, so did the hearts of daughters.
Mother: But I gave you everything, Ingrata
My heart was bleeding. I have done my part. I Showed Gratitude, displayed Obedience, was true and Loyal, and I showed Devotion my entire life. This was my duty in honoring the way. I provided, I sang the songs, followed the rituals, and taught them to her, just as my mother had done, all in the name of God. For the freedom that was promised. It was all for nothing now. Esa ingrata wants to leave and live a cursed life.
Daughter: It became apparent in that instant- ripping the band-aid and allowing the wound to weep- was a necessary evil. I encompass the parts of my mother that would haunt me after I had children of my own, and he is now four. The torture of not knowing what was passed down to me, and the fear of the unknown programmed my mind I never could start with my best foot. Sometimes I'm too cautious, saving whatever bread crumbs I can find. I watched as my mother gave herself up to God. I watched as she pleaded mercy through her insults and stared into my eyes for a redemption she couldn't give to herself. She only saw una ingrata, desgraciada: one that is ungrateful, one that is disgraced. Heavy and broken she said, "I live my life through you, and for you."
"No." I said gently, caring for the words I bore out of my chest. "Not anymore, mother."
I thought my parents, if not all parents, were supposed to have it all figured out, so that by the time it was my turn to become one I could take homage and live a life uninterrupted, like them. I didn't know love was a transaction. Wasn't love unconditional?
I remember as a child the phone ringing, my mother answering and walking into the dining room in secret to talk to her sister.
I never fully listened to the private conversations about sick family members, members in our tribe, who made the wrong choices, or overindulged in a good thing. What was said fell on deaf ears and I only heard terms like "por el corazon" and I watched as my mother pounded her chest three times, with one hand, holding the phone tightly to her ear with the other, then more laughing and secrets.
A way of asking God to forgive I just followed, without asking questions. Gratitude was a reaction, not from receiving, but from others taking and somehow providing more was expected. So I obeyed, without question, without expectation, and full of gratitude.
I thought in some way, the quiet gesture of graduating high school, then college and living my own life, would be enough payment for any suffering caused by me from birth to eighteen. I was wrong. My mother still needed me, and I- I was obligated to create harmony and solve her murder mysteries the same way she solved all of her mother's, and that woman has bodies. My abuela bathed her daughter with insecurities, and rinsed her with the blood sweat and tears poverty taught her, because my great-grandmother showed her daughter the same fate, and just like that, we kept drinking the Koolaid of poor thinking while living in abundant lands.
This was the love we shared. A form of disappointment that was created because of expectations and obsession for control disguised as too much love. For years I heard, "I'm disappointed you would do this to me." My ears became stuffed with her blame and suffering, and again I hear my mother's words leave my throat: disappointed. Only this time it's mine. Me saying it to a child who can’t spell a word correctly even with a million tries.
Can you hear the clinking of la Ingrata? She rattles her chains in the hearts of ungrateful children, the ones who forget tradition, the ones who abandon the way.
The discordant grating of rust gets louder, I am, in her eyes an embarrassment. Her creation, decided to create, esa Desgraciada. Not knowing what else to do or say she ends in defeat whispering, "I never thought, in all my life..." and that is the opening line of true disappointment, not in me, but in herself. It was the most honest and pure thing she had ever said.
She emptied herself. Liquid that tries to fill the pail with holes, I am a sponge that drips blood, sweat, and tears brought on by the women-the strong women of the tribe to keep alive the memory of the first mother who was always someone's grandmother. How could I stand there and let it create puddles at my feet?
There's that sound again. The clamoring and weight of the chains dragging along the chambers in my heart. La ingrata, esa desgraciada. She sits in my chest, occupying all the rooms, pulling my heartstrings, knowing that I have become undone. Knowing what I will choose to do. Abandon the way, just as she once did.
La ingrata is here.
La Ingrata: I have watched you, child. I’ve heard you talking to yourself, saying most unflattering things about mother. You add blame when your hands are dripping red. Who taught you to be a victim? Don’t say MOTHER. I have read your journal, the one you tuck between mattresses, oh you wretched girl. Drinking your sins as if you could wash those filthy desires. You are looking for a freedom that lives in the belly of the devil, your mother only wants to save you. Your desires are not selfish, they are destructive. I know what is in your heart, I can feel you wanting to break your promise.
La Ingrata rattles and yanks and pulls at the chains. She has invaded the heart of a daughter torn with curiosity and virtue.
Do not test fate, child. The womb that bore you is now yours to carry.