Monday, January 19, 2015

Lost Keys

She got me.  Again.  Nine years after her death and Ma is still getting the last laugh.  I lost my keys today.  Another reminder that the acorn does not fall far from the tree, that her blood still runs through my veins.  The fear of becoming my mother became reality today when I lost my car keys.  We searched everywhere: the five feet from car to meter; the 20 feet from meter to restaurant; the entire restaurant.  I apologize to the patrons who got the space beneath their feet examined by three frantic women –my friends-- for far longer than is humanly comfortable.  And more apologies to the dry cleaner, in front of whose shop I was parked, who came out to help us look, under the car, over the car.  The keys are gone.

It is payback.  All brought on by my own less-than-kind mischief, I must admit.  Ma was constantly searching for her purse with such ferocity, such vehemence, always insisting someone took it.    I admit it, my siblings and I used to hide it from her.  Never for very long, it was just a way to assuage our own lost patience at hearing her unremitting questions and accusations.  But the venom rising to the surface from Ma’s core at such an alarming rate meant this was no laughing matter, never to be jested about. That purse of hers represented some deeply held secret, perhaps an unconscious guilt for the pilfering of her siblings’ inheritances, or maybe it simply held her checkbook. 
“Where’s my purse?” she would ask at least three times through any meal or outing.

While I do believe in aliens, I know it was not the work of them.  That is unless they are working with Ma.  Not that this would be their idea.  She probably shamed them into assisting her.  Or bombarded them with guilt until they acquiesced?  That’s why I know it was her… she, who could turn good wine rancid with a look… she who could take down the strongest of men one cell at a time, until they were puddles at her feet, never knowing how they got there.

Ma’s blood courses through my veins (though cleansed through fire, purification, and therapy) carrying the genetic seed of pathological lunacy, which has settled into my psyche as the constant worry about losing my keys.  Ma is here in me and she is laughing.

My friend, who kindly drove me across town to pick up my house keys from my son and then back home to get my spare car key (did she not notice the anxiety rising in me as I loaded myself down with more keys to lose?), asked me later why my mother couldn’t help me locate the lost keys.  Help, I said?  This is the woman who got her kicks out of giving me onesie footie pajamas every Christmas (well into my 20s) and forcing me to model them for her.  She was not about to help me find my keys when it was she who helped me lose them.

Ma will always be within.  She gifted me life.  So, I must thank her for that.  And I thank her for her infinite lunatic antics that continuously provide me fodder for the stories that accord belly laughs to my friends and family.  Who is laughing now?

P.S.  I’m sorry I hid your purse.  Now please give me back my keys.