"When I was just a little girl
I asked Grandmother what will I be?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be rich?
Here's What she said to me... "
"Stop eating so much Corinna, you look like a giant"
"Bind your waste Corinna. Corinna be quiet."
"No one will love a girl so bossy, so loud ...
"Corinna sit down! Corinna close you mouth!"
MY grandmother, like a Japanese Mary Poppins, was practically perfect in every way.
Except when swallowed to taste,
NO spoon full of sugar would help her go down.
Jagged pill and barbed tongue,
she would make you believe you were impossible to love
so that you would bow in gratitude when you received the scraps of her affection.
This, please believe, was calculated intention.
MY grandmother was tough as teflon. She survived WWII in Japan.
And she navigated her way through the aftermath
as her sisters were married off, one by one ...
perhaps, she too, felt impossible to love.
A rebellious streak & chubby cheeks
a face built like the harvest moon
seem to keep her solitude
and so she soon / learned to use her tools to be unconventionally pretty;
her appearance masterfully crafted.
Women not yet liberated, she worked with what she had and
although her resources were few & far between
my grandmother was quite a clever young thing ...
and the apple doesn't fall too far from the cherry blossom tree.
Mastery of the art of damsel in distress
she could play your compassion to her best interest.
She was crafty and ambitious
and if you crossed her ... the reaction was vicious.
It's effects - everlasting.
She could give you a tongue lashing
and never ONCE raise her voice...
and dare not lose her poise,
because after all -
a lady doesn't make such noise, does she?
She played people as well as she played the piano - chopsticks to Chopin
Beethoven- Fur Elise ... the spine of a man, she played them all -
spectacular & accurate.
Her image ... always immaculate.
Even if 2 outfits was all she had to her name
She'd wear them with the appearance of couture style & grace.
She was a seamstress in Vegas for show girls back in the day
and my father ran amuck amongst the frey.
Casinos and back rooms
show girls & mobsters, you could say he was doomed.
Drinking, smoking, and gambling was all he knew ...
and a cruel yet obsessed mother too.
Now, DON'T misunderstand me. My grandmother LOVES my father
STILL more than a decade after his death
she still carefully tends to his flower bed.
It was once said
in a moment of vulnerability "I was a bad mother."
I dare not say a word.
What DO you SAY when that is revealed ... and you AGREE with them?
I simply sat silent in agreement,
sadden by her guilt & grief,
My father was her WORLD. Her ONLY child.
I don't doubt she loved him, I only wished she knew how.
Her effects were equally profound
and destructive on my brother
whom she also raised
and though he escaped, he did not do so unscathed.
And like me, we carry our scars to this day
tucked away / on the inside of our hearts
folded carefully next to our deepest family secrets
stuffed right between the regret & neglect
and we get
to wear our wounds like outdated clothing
moth ridden loathing ...
too comfortable to simply throw away.
Too hideous to display
except ... to each other.
"When I was just a little girl, I asked grandmother
what will I be?"
She never warned "You'll be me."
Que Sera Sera.