Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Why Men Leave

I started this a bit back in a journal entry but now have an excuse to finish it. Reading Crazy Aunt Purl’s Blog prompted me to get on with it. I was gonna spout profusely about Harry Potter 4, but I think this is more apropos tonight. I can talk Harry all day and all night later. Later, later. After all, a blog has to be semi-interesting, yes?

Back to the title...Men leave because they are cowards. Or they leave because they finally got the courage enough to go. Confused? I was, but please, read on. They leave because they don’t know what they want. Or because they finally do know what they want, and it ain’t you, baby. (That’s the “vato boy/latina violence girl in my head” voice BTW, s/he’s been in there for a good long time and we just live with it now. “We?” you ask, ”Who all else is finding residence in your head?” you wonder; as my cousin Maria would say, “Who said that? Sybil is that you?” Let’s just say that some days we get a little more than your average crazy going on; no worries. Heck, ‘member now, they trust me with CHILDREN (I hold a teaching credential in California AS WELL AS a Hawai’i Teaching License, not to mention I work at a LIBRARY) so I must be OKAY enough…right? Right…keep reading.

I come from a family of MEN WHO LEAVE. I realized this when I began gathering information for those stories Richard wants from me…BTW Richard, my mom has decided that she’s way willing to be interviewed and talk to me about anything I want to know regarding her past and help us on the road to being FAMOUS!!! Or, just famous…or whatever it is we achieve. Though tonight when I asked if she’d be willing to sit with you and blab her tale in Spanish to have me translate later she just laughed and laughed…I want to say I’m good for her heart, or something, isn’t that what 9 out of 10 quacks, I mean, doctors say about laughing? Right. Where was I?

Men who leave. I had one. He left. End of story. Wow, that’s so enlightening that I can’t really leave it like that, can I? There’s this myth that runs rampant about relationships and their running their courses and ending with “closure.” What a funny thing, that word, closure. If you ever get a chance to have it at the end of a “long haul,” lemme know; we’ll give you a medal. Ken said, and said, and said again, “Time to move on, LET IT GO.” That’s all the closure you’re allowed when things fall apart at breakneck speed. Now that I’m a “leading expert” on the matter I also want to add that the longer and more involved the relationship, the faster and harder the break-up. I was queen of the month-long relationships, I should know! What? Still together after 10 weeks, cripes, are we engaged or something? EEK! RUN AWAY…then came the eight-year extravaganza! Where did the time go?

(I really should have called this blog “tangent queen.” I just spoke with my dad about my niece going to high school. )

Papi: “HIGH SCHOOL! She’s not even three years old!”
Me: “So what’s 11 years? They go by so very quickly; faster than you can even keep track of them.” I should know, and this is where I spoke in my head instead of aloud, that 8 years seemed like the blink of an eye, to use corny old-people sayings. One minute you’re finishing grad school, and the next you’re trying to figure out how to pack your life away in 18 boxes to be shipped off to East L. A. (Yeah, so what, people gotta be born somewhere, don’t make me come over there and give you attitude!)

Men in my family—and I should clarify, my paternal side, leave, constantly. One big difference from the fellow I used to be lawfully wedded to: THEY COME BACK. They go off to work in Castroville and Watsonville during the Brasero program in the 50s and 60s, saving up enough to return to the Rancho and get married. They go off to Chino to heard cattle and send all of their HARD earned cash home so their wives can build their houses or educate their children. They go to unknown lands, or their younger brother’s house (same difference) to see if they can make a better life for themselves and their families. They LEAVE the ranch, because they know there is no future for them there. They strike out on their own and meet their wives to be in a new world (in the “New World?”) OR, and this is where I break away from my thesis statement as we’re drifting from the paternal side... (it’s called a transition people) they realized they were way too young, or she was way too young and FLEE; a one-way ticket out of town. If the female in question is hardheaded enough, she follows, and as my maternal grandmother found out, ended up in a world of pain.

I’m as hardheaded as they come. My mom likes to say that I have too many of my dad’s characteristics. (This is where I’m grateful that my mom OWNS a computer, but you have to pay her BIG MONEY to turn the dang thing ON…don’t you go dare helping her any, Alfred, some things we gotta keep between you, me, and everyone we know, after all.) BUT, I think I got a heaping spoonful of her side of the family’s “characteristics” as well. It’s a FACT in my family that I had my very first temper tantrum when I was about 2 weeks old. My mom had to spank me out of it! Welcome to the world, baby girl! Where was I? Right, the point! As much as I fought against the lectures and stories and more lectures growing up...I give, UNCLE, honest, I actually did learn from my mom’s stories. I readily decipher what she says. “IT’S OVER, mija. DON’T YOU DARE GO BACK TO HIM.” And what I hear is, don’t you dare follow him. Don’t you dare turn into my mother! Closure, I realize now, over a year gone, is for love stories. Fiction. Not for the likes of me and mine. Men leave because that’s what they do. Make your own closure. Wine helps.

I tried to keep this under 1000 words. I failed. Long winded? Yes, I am, I sorry. But if this is supposed to be for me, and my waffling self-therapy, what’re 100 words more or less? My Lit. teachers at UCSC would have words, but I kept it under two pages, honest.


Dagny said...

Thank you for this eloquent post. I often think to myself, "They trust me around children?" I guess they must because they gave me a teaching credential. I also loved the inner vato/latina voice. Everyone in my neighborhood seemed to have one, even if they aren't a vato/latina. In fact one of my good friends and her family have proclaimed me an honorary Nicaraguan.

Reading your writing is like talking to my roommate freshman year of college who was from Watsonville -- if she was still with us.

Now you have me rambling. I live in fear of men leaving so I just leave before they can leave me.

laurie said...

This is .. a maze, a beautiful maze. The way you turn a phrase, I read it twice and it's like I can hear you talking.

You are lovely and adored. A real firme jaina ;)(Wouldn't you know I've done my share of time with Chino from Pacoima, at least now I can swear in two languages, an accomplishment I am obscenely proud of.)

I love your voice.