Machi has a Lead

I'm sitting by the fire, red coals now, writing by the fire. Machi and David had set off with Lagarto and Robles. Machi said he had a lead on Ori. He wouldn't tell me what it is and I'm more relieved than annoyed. I like my stasis in the bubble. Those four look like they are close, have a bond, already made a bond. Am I jealous? Do I know what closeness is? Are Julia and I close? Was I close to Ori in the days when he was the last face I saw behind closed eyes before I fell asleep and the first when I woke up? When my Mother was on her deathbed I walked in from work during one of the social workers' visits and plopped into a chair just by the door. When the social worker asked me how I was, is said, “I'm numb”. My dying Mother perked up. “What does it mean to be numb?” I said something like, “Feeling like I don't feel anything.” My Mother had an epiphany. “You know something, I think I've felt that way all my life. I used to see other people who laughed or cried and I used to feel bad that I couldn't do that. But then I decided to accept that this was just the way I was.” Am I the same? I see other people get close (whatever closeness might be) while I stay inside the bubble, looking out, writing.

The coals from Machi's fire are shaped like branches, like the woodcoal embers in the huge red tiled stove of the happy house in Ventura. My mind must not hate me if it has given me a I welcome this unexpected memory of the happy house. I don't ever remember thinking of that house as an adult. I was babysat there and the family loved me and I was cherished, full out just as I was. I remember standing on the steps going to the kitchen. The house was built backwards on a hill. The living room at the top, and each successive room a few steps down from the last. The first bedroom belonged to Alida (my first grade teacher), or to Ruth (her sister who'd married her second cousin and decided never to have children in case they would come out “defective”). Or was it no one's bedroom, the one I stayed in when my parents went away for a whole week? Steps went down into another bedroom, and more steps went down to Matilde and Alfonso's room, (matriarch and patriarch), right above the kitchen.
I see little Marina, standing on the redtiled steps to the kitchen ooking at the adults at the table, and Matilde by the stove. I spoke and they listened. Matilde served food from huge cast iron and clay pots on the red tiled stove built into the sidewall. Under each of the three burners was a square hole. Red wood coal branches glowed in there. It was one of my life inquiries to study them to see if they were little windows into hell. If they were then hell was beautiful.

My mind wanted me to hold onto some sign that life was good now that my son had found David, Lagarto and Robles. That proved though there were no streets in the Encampment all of the Encampment was the street. Machi was back on it. By now he would have gone through the looking glass, the warp, into the land of the beer cans and the weed, that parallel world where young men who were targetted for destruction by the City lived. There must be benign reality there. I couldn't see it. I needed Machimbili's magic glasses. I could only see oppression winning. Oppression had taken my baby and I didn't know how to get him back. Could one lone woman take a boy back when oppression abducted him? A lone woman who had failed to make the revolution. “Where is the revolution you and Pa were going to make? I sure don't see it.” Those were the words Machi screamed at me when he left home a year ago. Only now do I realize they echoed words I'd screamed at my Father when I left home for my first apartment. I'd screamed at him, “You left home just as I'm leaving home. But it was fine for you because you were doing it for god. Well where is god because I don't see him? What did god ever do because I don't see it?” My Father let go the steering wheel of the car he was driving to take me where I was leaving him to go, because even to leave him I needed his help, and swung back his right hand. The only time he ever tried to hit me. He stopped his arm in midair. He was too far to actually hit me in any case, but the gesture was as terrifyng as a blow coming from a man who seldom even needed to raise his voice to get me to comply. She was the batterer, the enforcer. I see now that was their division of labor, another of the dirty jobs she did to defend his privilege. It wasn't the president himself who did the torturing in Ventura...My mother was the torturer.
So now Machi was gone, back to the vale of beer and weed. Should I be grateful it wasn't crack, or cocaine, or heroin or meth? I was. God do not take this as a challenge...For good measure, after Machi and David took off, Taina decided I was the one to beat up. She looked at me with what she meant to be her meanest face and she pummeled me with her little fist and god I wanted to hit her back but I managed not to, I managed to make a frame of some kind with my arms to contain her and she wrestled in there, pushed against me, until that go round of her rage was spent. I want that too. I want to spend my rage. I want to find a rightful object for it.
Instead I'm going to make myself go back to my reading of the journals. I am going to pretend there is something in there I can learn.