My mother is a woman and she is angry. She is always angry and sad. She sits at the kitchen table, her head in her hands. She sits and reads the newspaper every morning. Her thumbs get black. She cleans the kitchen. Every morning, the whir of the dishwasher. Every morning, she is vacuuming or scrubbing, or making a room in the house new: new tiles, new paper, new walls and floors. She is hammering, she is alone.
My mother broods. She broods out the window. Everywhere there are houses, everywhere, signs of people. Marks of where they've been - a polished lawn, a mailbox, a newspaper strewn on the driveway - but there are no people. I don't know how you could choose to live your life in the suburbs. To me, it's a slow death.
Every day she is angry. Everyday, she is angry and yelling. Everyday, she doesn't know what she does. She is yelling at us because we are the only people around. She is yelling at her babies because we are in the house and so is she. She is yelling because she wants to get out and now she is chained - she is yelling because she has no where else to go. She is yelling because the clouds aren't whizzing past, because the horizon isn't blue but green - and-black, white-and-red, brown-and-cream, the paint jobs of the houses surrounding her. She is yelling because this is what she thought she wanted. She is yelling because the last place she lived had rusty water and cockroaches. She is yelling because the last place she lived she shared with a man she didn't know, a man with yellow and crooked teeth, who hardly shaved and let his dishes pile in the sink. She is yelling because this home is better, but no better than the other place. She is yelling because she grew up poor and smart, poor and smart, and now she is an immigrant with even more chance at poverty. She is yelling because she hates her husband, a man who promised her comfort, but not affection, who promised her a big house with a dishwasher, but who doesn't come home until she is already asleep. A man who doesn't look at her when she talks but instead keeps his eyes moving on the TV screen, who occasionally laughs at the inflections of her German accent, a mispronounced word.
A man who teases her for the stretchmarks that grew after her third
child. A man who has a big belly, three chins and who needs the TV and
radio on in order to fall asleep, snoring. A man whose real mistress
is the television, a man who every night, keeps her tossing and turning,
for lack of touch, for lack of listening. A man to whom she is a slave,
although he sees only her freedom, her unstructured time. A man at whom
she yells just to catch his attention. A man who would rather be at
the office than at home. A man whom she teases viciously, just to defend
his vicious teasing. A man whom she wonders if she ever loved.