AM I LOVED?
The three of us walked toward the Socorro square after school. For .35 cents we could get a chili hot dog and a coke. Mom had given me the money before school.
We scooted our skirts into the booth of the Drug Store. We had to wear dresses to school…no pants allowed.
I wasn't in any hurry to get home. I had a heavy heart but I would never share it with my friends. My mother had put a "code of silence" on me. "Gloria, you never tell anything that goes on in this house."
Our hot dogs and cokes were set before us. My two friends were in a conversation concerning "mothers." Just, what I didn't want to hear. (But they didn't know that.)
I was so tired of hearing…"I tell my Mom everything. She's really my best friend.".... If only, I thought.
I spent a lot of time at my friends houses. Socorro was small enough we could walk to each others homes . Jill's Mom was very nice. I also loved to go to another friends house. She was Spanish. They were a big family. The home was always lively and her mother made the best Mexican food. Her mom was always glad to see me. My friend and I talked about her church. She was Catholic. Many of my friends were Catholic…except for Jill.
Even though Jill was my best friend I could never tell her the things my mother had said to me.
I didn't understand my mother. She would be nice to me one day and then say something terrible the next day.
Yesterday was the worst. Her eyes looked into mine. "It’s probably your fault Slim didn't hear the man yell he was turning on the juice (electricity). He was probably thinking about you, because you knew he wasn't your real dad. "
If she had stuck a knife in me it wouldn't have hurt any worse.
I was speechless. How could Mom try to blame me for Daddy Slims death? I knew it wasn't true. I knew it had been an accident. It had nothing to do with me.
It was such a cruel, venomous thing to say. And from my own mother. Did she want to hurt me? Yes, I felt she did and I did not understand it.
When she spoke of my birth, it was never joyful. She said, "I looked down at you and I said "you little Indian". (My mother's father was part Cherokee Indian.) She also told me I had ruined her body when she gave birth to me.
There was no way I could tell her anything. I tried to talk to her about staying in one school and not moving. I was happy in Socorro. I had many friends. I wanted to stay in one place. In one house. In one school.
"I moved all the time when I was a kid. I had it worse than you," was her answer.
One day, when I was really feeling down, she asked me what was wrong.
"I can't talk to you Mom."
"Write me a letter."
I sat on my bed and wrote her a long letter. When I took it to her she refused to read it. Was she afraid to hear the truth?
Yes, my friends loved their Moms. I loved my mother too. The question was…did she love me?
The terrible thought would come in my mind and continued for years…"If your own mother doesn't love you."
Post note: Years later I learned that abortion had been discussed. My Mom decided to give birth to me. My Aunt Ruby, a few years before she died, told me that if it hadn't been for her and Grandma I probably wouldn't have made it as a baby...(when Mom brought me home from the hospital.)