Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mr. Danger

She swept through the open window of my luxury Miami apartment at hurricane velocity, with lightning-like sunrays streaming from her wingtips. She handed me the magic dust and in a swift move extracted the voice box from Mr. Wrong, saving the clueless damsel before she could even blink; before the day for her turned to a tumultuous night that might carry on forever.

Okay, so luxury’s a strong word. And the lighting and window were more like lamps and landing pads at the Miami International Airport. The dust was curry powder, the damsel—me, and the superhero—unquestionably, my mom.

“Here, take these.” She handed me spice packets—curry, turmeric and cardamom. “And these.” A bag of frozen, but thawing chicken breasts. “Oh, and this.” An old-fashioned chrome skillet she’d found at a thrift store for negative-one-tenth of its price at retail or antique stores.

“They let you bring these on the plane?” The spices—though tantalizing--looked remarkably like pharmaceuticals.

“Why wouldn’t they?”

I should’ve known. Mom’s faith could open doors in concrete walls. She’d flown to Miami to attend the screening of my first film, Paparazzi, in which I played a woman who takes revenge on the photographers who exploit her. Though a low-budget indie-film, I conjured comparisons of Mom and me to Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow, whom I knew from watching Oprah appeared at Gwyneth’s premieres jointly, too.
Mom started cooking and I sat on a stool, awaiting tasks.

“What is it?” she asked—not, ‘Is something on your mind?’ or ‘Did something happen?’ She just knew.

“Nothing.” I smiled, instantly aware of my disingenuous pep. “Can I help?” I sliced a potato and glanced repeatedly at my phone. He’d sent several text messages and a voicemail I was apprehensive but desperate to listen to.

“Is it him?” Her eyes burned into me.

How did she know? “Who?”

“Let me see.” She reached her hand out.

“No!” My hand snapped to my phone like a Venus fly trap. Then tears filled my eyes and her truth serum caused everything to open up. (I told you her spices were magic.) He didn’t yell at me per say, but he had a temper. I didn’t deem him dangerous, though he did chase a man who looked at me a certain way around a parking lot with a knife. He wasn’t violent, though he did snap a chrome towel rack I could barely lift in two when I shared my dream of moving to Los Angeles. And though he “loved” me, he punched a hole in the wall when my dreams began coming true and visions of his monster-eyes kept me awake to the wee hours of the night. For reasons I couldn’t explain, it broke my heart to leave him, perhaps more than it did to stay.

My phone rang and Mom answered it. “Yes, this is her mother. I just want you to know that you are never to call my daughter ever again. Ever, understood? Oh…you love her. Good! You can prove it by leaving her alone.” Pause. “I’ll pray for you.” Click.

For a moment I felt as though the floor fell from beneath me. I watched my body free-fall from a cliff with nothing in sight to catch me. But then the air felt quiet and the breeze outside, peaceful. I breathed calmly for the first time in months and felt the hard marbles of tension ease from my back and shoulders.

“Well,” Mom said, “Guess that’s it!” She wrapped her arms around me, then grabbed her keys. “Let’s go shopping.”

My tear ducts were like on/off sprinklers the rest of the weekend, sometimes out of heart ache, more often from relief. Mom kept my phone in her purse and between bargain hunting adventures, cooking fests and film parties I caught glimpses of a knowing look in her eye, assuring me that I was strong, capable and most of all, loved. Not by Mr. Danger, but by my superhero mom.

A year later in Los Angeles, I encountered a woman who knew my ex. Her similar blond hair and blue eyes gave me chills. The one she could no longer open broke my heart.

“He did this to you?” I asked.

She nodded. “You’re lucky you got out when you did.”

No, not lucky. Blessed.

For my superhero mom...Love forever, Putsu

No comments:

Post a Comment