I woke up in a sweat, numb and cold. I looked around the room, it was dim. Clearly I had slept in and I was exhausted. The smell of pink potpourri lingered as if imprinted in my memory, like the first night of foster care. Knots in my stomach , the bands tighten as the anxiety builds as I knew I had to walk up a set of stairs and face disappoint from strangers whom took me in less than a year ago. Those 12 steps seemed daunting and the hallway from the basement to the main level closed in a little tighter that morning. I let more people down, growing quickly into a lost teenager. I can smell stale cigarettes off my fingers and hair and my breathe was thick, I needed water, badly. Heaven forbid, don’t lick your teeth if you ever wake up like this, the most disgusting feeling ever in your mouth. Was I dreaming about sitting in the cold white concrete room with blue stripes, having my fingerprints taken, and my foster parents were actually called to come get me from a police station? Was I really arrested, grounded and going to court? Trying so desperately to imagine what happened so quickly in life, that life was going south. I looked at my fingers and yes black faded ink was present, it was real. Nothing good was coming out of the messed up years, days and months that were adding up, like loose change. It plays over and over daily in my head, seeming to not find the answers I need to move forward. Last night I used muscles I never knew existed, from running from the cops and jumping fences was something out of the movies. I closed my eyes again in hopes to drift off back to sleep, a place where I can slow down my brain and thought process. Sleep, takes me from the world I know. It wasn’t long and I was asleep, it seemed like a blink of an eye it was yesterday.
After the divorce of my parents, a mom on the run, a new marriage, a step family things settled enough for me to carry on, I wasn’t happy with the living arrangements and I rebelled. It was when my dad allowed my mom to drive from British Columbia and pick us up, drive us all the way back across Canada to visit with her side of the family. My brother and I were up at my grandparents cottage at the time, with the stepfamily when she picked us up. Coming down the driveway with sunglasses and shaved hair was my Mom in a blue Mercury Topaz. I still can remember the black and blue checked upholstered seats and the ashtray full of butts. The car was ok, it had a cassette deck and roll down windows. We were going on a roadtrip!
I was nervous yet excited ,I was finally able to get some Mom time, I really needed and missed. Get out of the family of 6 that we started to hate! It was days, driving night and day out to the West Coast, arriving to an empty apartment. An empty apartment? Not a stitch of anything, No furniture, no food, no nothing!?! The memory of having someone rob her blind was hard to understand. Being nervous to stay in a weird place, that had a eerie feeling to it. I was nervous about staying in a place where someone stole all her stuff? She had left us at the apartment alone so she can pick up a few essentials while we were there. My brother and I threw some stale crackers to a homeless man down below pushing a shopping cart full of his prized possessions he called home. With no hot water running through the taps we were forced to have cold baths. I remember getting naked in the bathroom, terrified to put my leg into that bathtub as it was numbing cold yet refreshing. It was days that I had gotten myself clean and I knew it had to be done. In I went, I was in and out as quick as a robber in a bank. The apartment smelt old and musty, it was the middle of summer and typical hot temperatures, no air conditioning. We slept all together on a mattress and shared pillows and blankets. It was the worse sleep, and I complained. All she had was some liver, and that was our dinner that night between the 3 of us. A smell to this day I cannot stand, nor will I eat liver again. We spent most of our time together on the run. eating from one restaurant to the other, one convert or venue to another. Spending money as if she won the lottery, not sure her bankruptcy status was on the way. Maybe her way of making up for lost time, making memories that forever impact a world.
She showered us with gifts, gifts from the Edmonton Oilers souvenir shop, she bought us some luggage also so we can bring our things home. The snow-capped mountains were breathtaking, she was right from all the postcards I got in the mail. Something was different in the air, a different aroma than Ontario. Taking deep breathes it was amazing to look out at the landscape and the beauty of Canada.
I met some family from my mothers side, it was a fun, busy summer but strange. As she embarked on a journey to take us to many concerts, and experience what she was enjoying out west. The flashback of colourful beach balls bouncing through screaming ladies and flailing arms as they waved to the music of The Beach Boys concert. Stripping off to nothing but a one piece bathing suit, it covered her long insecure scar left over from her suicide attempt summers prior. She danced all over the place, for hours as we watched in dismay as security escorted her back to her seat with us. I think we both couldn’t believe, we almost getting kicked out due to our mothers behavior.
She didn’t care how many people stared, pointed or mocked. She loved life, the kind of zest that is infectious, more than anything out there. She begged not to get kicked out as a young kids watched. But that summer I heard the music of Glass Tiger, Bruce Hornsby and the Range as well as the Beach Boys to name a few. Irene was living out loud, but we were too young to understand that. When you’re a young kid, you’re helpless, you just do what is laid out in front of you. A saying stamped in my head “It’s just the cards , I’ve been dealt ” if you have no food, are you not eating, bottom line.
On our way to British Columbia now, sleeping on the side the road or during travel was normal and closing my eyes for an hour was a break from the emotional trip, I closed my eyes and off to dreamland I went. I can still see faded colours of hard plastic water slides, I am I could still smell the chlorine in the air as if there’s a special place in my heart for it. We were at West Edmonton Mall, and the waterpark. Playing for hours with my brother, running around taking it in as if we won the lottery. We swam and played for hours, and she clearly enjoyed knowing we were happy.
It wasn’t until panic set in when we realized we couldn’t find our mother. She was gone for quite sometime it seemed and we finally had to staff looking for her. To this day all she had said was she was out smoking cigarettes, and quite possibly that is the truth. She had a way of getting sidetracked and ended up somewhere else. What would’ve happened if we drown in the wave pool? Or more lured away with strangers that day. In some fucked up way; we still had an angel on our side. When I meet that angel one day, I will greet him or her with a hug for to thank him for keeping some of me safe. An angel that has made its presence many times, keeping us safe from harms way. That may explain the showers of white feathers I’ve received over my lifetime. In some way, that was the sick trade off. I get something I didn’t ask for, a constant mental struggle for 40 years: yet I see the beauty of true sincerity and love. As that is part of my genetic profile, a heart of gold emerged before I drowned in living for others
There’s this cheap buffet restaurant near the Coliseum in Edmonton, where my mom stalked the Edmonton Oilers. We sat in this certain window for hours it seemed ,every day watching for the tour bus to pull in. My mom would bolt out of the restaurant, run to them as if they were her long lost children. We as her kids, were so confused yet amused watching the events unfold. She showered us with Edmonton Oilers apparel that came home with us and the toothbrush and puck set was pretty fun. As the time we caught up with the Edmonton Oilers at a restaurant, traipsing through the place is we had privilege to do so. I can remember being excited and sitting on Marty Morley’s lap and using his gold pen, that he pulled out of this top pocket, he was a totally good looking man. The other hockey player I had a crush on was Paul Coffee, he was already on the tour bus waiting to leave. Wayne Gretzky was hung over having breakfast and it was an awesome moment as a kid meeting him, as I wore my Michael Jackson’s jacket. I wasn’t the cutest 10-year-old but I sure as hell knew had a fashion statement. I’m glad that phase ended quickly, quite comical if you ask me. My mom stormed onto the tour bus that day, demanding that he come off and have a picture with me as I was crying my eyes out for his signature. He obliged and off the bus he came in as black trench coat, as I hugged him like a hero, he still wasn’t amused. But I still got the signature.
Maybe it’s the thrill of the challenge that has enticed me on my life to defy the thin line between trouble and peace. Maybe the grass is greener on the other side, but if you don’t take care of your own grass how will you ever know?
I woke from that to be thankful to have those moments with her, as our time was ending again. Alone we were, on a scary train ride with my brother, my dad so upset that my mom was sending us home on the train by ourselves across Canada, she had us a little booth and sent us with some money and we are the sleep in that little cabin together and only leave to get some food that were the instructions we were given.
That explains the luggage that she had purchased for us while we were traveling, she already had a plan and no one else knew about it. Up in observation deck, I reflected on the trip and I was happy to go back to Ontario. Tears became to fall as a looked out the window, I seen wheat, the same wheat that was on that same stretch of highway where a song entered my memory, impacting my life forever.
That song would be from Van Halen and will move me beyond any emotion. In the blue Topaz something had gone wrong, and the tape deck wasn’t working, it was dark and we were driving. Since the radio didn’t work my mom had her Walkman ,as she drove the car, We were forced to hear my moms singing in high pitch, and singing the lyrics of Van Halen’s When Its Love Single, One song that will remain in our hearts forever. “When it’s Love” came on her Walkman for some reason our world stopped that night for three minutes and 41 seconds. We listened to the words and listened to her sing her heart out, as if she was singing to us. It is the song forever connected between the three of us, something only the Holy Spirit will understand. That song seems to play at the oddest moments, and in those moments I allow my world to stop. I’m not allowed to be interrupted, or spoken to you during that song so I can gain some strength from it so that when it’s over I can move on with purpose.I sure miss her, and every lyric she sang from that album.
I want to go back to the backseat of the blue Topaz and cuddle my blanket she gave me when I was born. I want to buy a return ticket to take me back to the mountains, feel the mountain air and the smell stale beer outside those AA meetings, we were taken too. I want to feel the exhilaration of going down to fast waterslides again and watching my brother come after me smiling and laughing. To be back as innocent kids trying to find our way through a confused circus, a emotional circus I desperately needed to shut down but how? I awoke to the sound of my foster mom yelling for me “Mitzi, Can you come up here” Mitzi, we need to talk! As i wipped the sleep from my weary eyes, I made my way for breakfast. I about to learn the trouble I was in, and its wasn’t pretty.
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Cannabis Enthusiast : Craft Edible Creator : Recreation and Leisure Professional : Blogger
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