2003-12-10 - 11:01 p.m.

i was writing a bad, unnatural haiku (basho and my high school creative writing teacher would kill me if they weren't so nonviolent!) and the unfinished process was a messier version of this:

with my grandmother
dead, i fear the holidays'
- cluttered vacancies
- (me and my mother)

when i was a young number-i-can't-remember-teen, my mom and grandma and brother were there on my birthday. there was a cake and pitiful decorations on the wall and they sang in voices that could never fill a room and i was ungrateful because i was lonely and i didn't like being a teenager.

i hated ceremony then, so i hated the mock-up attempts my mother made. i wondered then and i wonder now how my mother ignored the unhappy look on my face as she cut the cake-that-wasn't-the-kind-i-liked and opened forgettable presents that revealed how unwell they knew the more forgettable, material parts of me. i sort of admire my mother for going through with the whole awkward thing, as though she meant "it's her birthday, i won't yell at her for being rude" when i don't even know if she felt that way or even noticed.

my mom took photographs. i'm sure i look pissed off in all of them, the same way me and richard look so unhappy in our old christmas photos (and my grandmother smiling-so-beamingly in between us).

i don't know if she was happy, i really don't. but i think if she was, my mother would have told me (she isn't one to hide that sort of thing).

i'm trying to remember my grandmother as happy, i'm not sure if i'm doing the right thing. i'm trying to have as many memories as possible, possibly to push away the image of her in the hospital, only semi-conscious with a dull panic in her eyes. she couldn't even blink, i was worried her eyes were painfully dry. i remember her with tape cutting into her lip in order to keep the awful respirator tube in her mouth, and the machine made her chest move up and down while plasma gathered around her hands. her palms tightened when i held her hand and she tried to hold mine.

i was going to write something about not being a teenager anymore (in five, four), but i don't know what it has to do with anything, because what does it mean? am i going to process all this information and all these memories differently? i don't know what there is other than the chemicals in my brain that won't be mixed in the same, youthful way anymore (all cataclysms, all catalysts). i have grown so ashamed of being a teenager, but i am going to miss it, and i'm not sure what i'm going to miss. most likely everything, because i am clingy like that and all my hugs show it (wide and close and tight).

<> - <>