“NO! Damn it! Why? Why?”
My little body cringed hearing the yells trample down the hallway from the bathroom. My eyes stared at Wonder Woman on the screen, thoughts flooding my head. If only I believed enough the television would suck me into it. I would morph into my own version of Wonder Girl and all of my anxieties would crash to nonexistence. I would help nations, and take out bad guys. I would wear a cool outfit especially, amazing red knee high boots with gold trim!
I heard the tears through the curse words as they bounced off the walls to stab my heart. The banging shook the whole house from pipes being hit, and slamming cabinet doors sounding like shattering glass scaring my innards. Desperation to help consuming my every fiber, and the need for calm I decided to leave my fantasy to take a walk to the other end of the house.
The brown paneling on the wall was smooth, with ridges gripping my fingertips. They snagged me with each carcass. My journey filling with spinning clocks around my head. Feet dragging along the way, and the black swirls mixed in the brown panels pulled my eyes with its fingers. Eternity ended at the bathroom doorway. Leaving brash marks, curse words were flying all over the room. Confusion filled me – Mom never flew those words around like that. She was a responsible potty mouth.
I stood silent behind her my heart hurting without understanding. “This damn sink! First the tub, and now the sink! I can’t get the pipes to stop leaking, if I don’t fix it before winter the pipes will freeze. Oh, Jesus Christ! The toilet is leaking too. Why, why, why? God why? I need a man to help me. I just need a man to help. I can’t do this all on my own. I don’t know how to do this!” Collapsing onto the floor her head sank into her knees, while her arms flailed in the air with her words. Stillness suddenly took over, I watched her back start to move up and down slowly.
Her words and powerlessness sinking into my little body. I wanted so much to help her – to show her that she didn’t need a man. We didn’t need a man. We could do it, just her and me. Quietly and softly touching her shoulder with great attention not to startle, “Mama, are you ok?”
“No, baby I am not ok! I don’t know what to do anymore.” Burying deeper into her knees I could hear her tears splash with the water from the toilet. I looked around trying to think of something to help, my little mind racing to fix something anything at all.
Hesitating to speak, I braced my body for raging words to come chasing after me. ”Mama, can I get you something?”
“I need a wrench.” Slowly rising, brushing past me her arm hitting the metal plate for the bathroom door-latch. Pinging echoes into the air as it fell off to the floor – silence rang through her. My body felt the explosion ready to erupt as I ran past her to get to the toolbox. Grabbing a screwdriver, I looked back to see her slide down the wall to the floor. Exasperation engulfing her breath. I watched in slow motion as her body was losing life. Running as fast as I could back to the bathroom, looking at the heap of my mother, I picked up the metal plate.
My tiny hands working as fast as they could to put the screws back into the wall and screwing the plate in. “Look Mom! Look, I fixin’ it. See now, see we don’t need no menz. Mama, we don’t need no menz.” The plate set perfectly crooked in its place, the huge wrench resting in my palm outstretched to her, and my other hand clinging to the screwdriver.
Teary eyed, looking up at me she started laughing uncontrollably. My belly filled with giggles. Our laughter filled the air as she picked herself up, grabbing the wrench. Her red bandanna wrapped tightly around her head framing her cleansed face. The shine of tears making her smile glow even more. Looking down into my hopeful eyes laughing, “You are right, baby. We don’t need no menz. We don’t need no menz.”