Kaleidoscope Love

By Christian Escalona

My mother never chased me with a garden rake like my second cousin after his college mental breakdown. Her type of sickness isn’t caused by the abnormal tangle of blood vessels in her head. Her type of sickness hides behind the guise of brain surgery aftermath. Her type of sickness rules my mother’s life and often her family’s lives too.

I remember when I was 5 years old, my mother, step-father, and I were having a pillow fight in our condo’s living room. I swung my pillow, full of goose down feathers at my mom, embracing the rare moment of levity in our home. My pillow smacked her across the back of her head, right along her incision line. Everything changed abruptly. My mother stumbled like an intoxicated bar patron.

“Lisa? Are you okay?” My step-dad ran over to her. In that moment, she might have considered him an intruder.

“Who are you?” She questioned, backing away from him.

“Lisa . . . It’s me. Your husband.”

My mother looked around frantically before grabbing the lamp from an end table. She yanked its cord out of the wall and wielded the lamp at him.

“Stay away from me!”

My step-dad held his hands up.

“Okay! Okay! Just calm down . . .”

“Mommy?” I uttered.

My mother turned around and stared at me before dropping the lamp to the floor.

“My baby . . .” She kneeled down and hugged me tightly. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

I shook my head and cried. My mother rose from her knees, filling our living room with an energy that could stifle the most fearless person.

“WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY CHILD?” She cornered my step-dad.

“Lise,” he choked up. “I didn’t . . . We were all having a pillow fight and your head was hit. Look around.”

My mother took in the scattered pillows across the living room floor. She walked over to her Steinway piano picking up a photo of her and my step-father.

“That’s our wedding photo, baby. Do you remember that day?”

She dropped the wedding photo to the floor. She turned and looked at both of us completely vacant, existing anywhere but in that living room.

“Do you want to go to the beach?” My mother asked me in a cheery tone. “Let’s go to the beach.”

“Mommy, it’s nighttime.” I pointed to the window.

“Lise, maybe you should sit down.”

My mother ran and jumped onto our couch and then without any warning, urine flowed out from under her nightgown and onto the cushions.

Fifteen years later, I moved 3,000 miles away from my California home. I fell for a woman who reminded me so much of my mother, I missed home less and less. After our first breakup, I turned to outside help for the first time breaking my mother’s pact for silence. My therapist would guide me through four breakups with the same woman as I worked to make sense of my own mother.

"flashmemoirchristianescalona"Christian Escalona is a business manager by day and a writer by night. After completing author Dori Ostermiller’s manuscript course, Christian continues work on his first memoir: a young man’s transformation against the backdrop of an unstable mother. He is a collector of good vibes, transcendent experiences, and high quality tattoos.


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