I used to watch them sitting outside at the cheap plastic table, the cheap plastic chairs making lines in their thighs. They would sit for hours smoking their cigarettes, flicking the golden embers in the grass beneath them. They had matching worry lines knit in their brow, probably from the poverty and the past. They both twirled their lighters, one red, one pink, a mirrored motion. They laughed too, remembering sons and brothers licking freezers and getting hung up by their pants. The same lines that formed the worry, showed the good too.
I remember the bus station. The days long journey from Yakima to Cheyenne. I remember the embrace, the lean in, the comfort. I can see them standing there. I missed you.
I look at you my Lena, my daughter. It makes my heart burst. I think perhaps one day, we could be broken too. I worry that having a daughter sealed my fate, that first I too will lose my mother because we are stubborn and sometimes we dont get each other. I am afraid that ignoring this pain will only cause the fracture to spread until those memories, the patio chats, the hugs will be such distant memories I too will forget that somewhere deep within us we have the same worry lines.
I am the mother of a daughter. I have discovered this to be a very fragile relationship in this family. I know there is strength there and courage. I’m trying desperately to hold those threads together because I have also realized I don’t want you to have to dig so far back in your memory to see your mother and her mother hugging.
You are sighing in your sleep next to me. I reach out to hold your hand. You pull it away, three fingers covered in Toy Story band-aids. I turn back over. A few moments later I feel your warm fingers wrap around my arm.