Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Pat MacEnulty’s most recent book is Wait until Tomorrow: A Daughter’s Memoir. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a roommate, a blind cat, and two electric pianos. She teaches writing at Johnson & Wales University, a school known for its culinary college, but she still can’t cook. She blogs on writing at www.transformativewriting.blogspot.com.
There is an energy associated with labor and birth. Birth is holy and sacred. But you have to be respectful of mother and baby, or you’ll miss it. If we come to it with a sense of awe and treat the mother with kindness and respect, birth can be a truly spiritual, empowering experience.
The door to my mother’s apartment at the assisted-living facility is unlocked, so I enter. The Steinway, silent and black, takes up most of the living room. In the second bedroom — where she keeps her electric piano, painting supplies, and a daybed — the radio plays classical music. It’s nine in the morning, and the blinds have not yet been raised, but there’s light enough for me to see my mother lying on her side on the daybed in her ruby-colored robe.
The goal of the economic hit men is to cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars for the sake of corporate profits. Their job, you could say, is to create a global empire, and they’ve done just that. Not only does the U.S. control world commerce, but we influence world culture: The language of diplomacy and business is English. People all over the planet watch Hollywood movies, eat American fast food, and adopt American styles of clothing. We have no significant competition.
Look at it this way: Keeping a child on welfare costs about sixteen hundred dollars a year in cash and services. To keep that same child in foster care costs about six thousand dollars a year. And if that child winds up in prison, the cost is around twenty thousand dollars a year. Most governments figured out a long time ago that welfare is the cheapest way to keep people out of institutions — and also to keep them from taking to the streets to protest their poverty.
The Sun doesn’t usually report on current events, but September’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. marked a turning point for all of us. We put out a call to our writers, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy and its aftermath. The response was overwhelming. As word got around, we received submissions not only from regular contributors but from writers who are new to The Sun’s pages.
The needle bit my skin and then nestled into a vein: a clean hit, running through me like the Orient Express. New York heroin is like Daddy holding you and kissing you on the neck. It’s white, not dark and red like the Mexican heroin that I’d shot back home. It tastes like the sweet breath of Buddha.
Kitty’s aunt sewed her a pink satin boob. Kitty showed it to me on my third night at her house. She sat at the antique vanity in her bedroom and placed the small, soft cushion in my hand. The color made me think of 1930s Hollywood starlets. Kitty would never wear it, of course. She hadn’t worn a bra before the mastectomy, and she wasn’t planning to start now. But she smiled up at me and said, “Isn’t it sweet?”
In prison, despite the stereotypes, I am not raped by a gang of women with a toilet plunger; no muscled-up stud with tattooed tits claims me for her “wife”; no one corners me in the laundry room and beats the crap out of me.
He had tried to take my mother away from me, to leave me all alone. How different everything would have been without her. Suddenly it seemed as if she had always been with me, even when I was by myself, like that long cord that keeps astronauts from floating off into oblivion when they leave the spaceship.