memories, part deux

*warning family*

so there’s more memories coming to the surface. most of them unpleasant and hard to reconcile how and why you could act that way, to us, the girls from Minnesota. That’s how we were always referred to… never your daughters – it was like all the neighbors and the few scattered relatives knew not to attach ownership of us to you – better keep it safe and just let Minnesota claim them; no-one dared said our mother’s name. So here’s another gem from childhood…

I think I was eight. We were tired from the flight. We had our random collection of things that we brought on the plane- I think there was a pillow, some stuffed animals, and a few bags. They weighed us down and we stood stark still in that airport. To this day I don’t think I will ever be able to fly into San Jose. We stood, three little girls, questionably too young to be unattended by a parent or surrogate caring adult… but we stood there, the stuffed animal and pillow bulging from our arms, waiting for you.

And we watched you walk… right … past … us.

Maybe he didn’t see us? We didn’t have to say this out-loud. Our bodies collectively shifted and followed you walking away from us, without even glancing at us, we were all thinking it. Our shoulders slumped a little – that one hurt. He’ll be back soon. We were just standing there – so still while everyone else bustled and connected and had their friends and family recognize them. It was like being stuck in some cliche hollywood movie trying to capitalize on the brutality of having a shitty parent…

And then we watched you walk… right … past … us… again.

But this time, you looked right at us, and didn’t recognize us. Nothing. You’re eyes were vacant, ours were shattering – full of shame and embarrassment, the sadness bulging from our eyes, our little bodies sinking closer to the floor. And I remember that floor well.  I studied it and stared at the brown tiles and dirty cream grout, wishing to god I could just turn into some speck of dirt on the floor so it would make sense why how you didn’t even notice us.

It took you three laps to recognize and claim your three daughters- the girls from Minnesota, just standing like forgotten luggage. You didn’t greet us with smiles or warmth. You were stressed from walking ‘all over the damn airport’ and somehow we all knew we would claim responsibility for this fuck up. We never did tell you we watched you walk right past us all those times.

The following year when we went out again, and my big brave sister dressed herself in the brightest damn neon possible, we never talked about how this was a guarantee that you would see us this time… we would be impossible to miss this time. You wouldn’t need to remember what we looked like {and let’s not even bring up the fact of how much we resembled you…} so we would make it easy on you so that this time, you would claim us on your first lap. And maybe, just maybe, you’d start to show us something other than contempt, annoyance, and ambivalence…

© 2017 erin hoffman – all rights reserved


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