“You’d have to understand my mother to understand why I’m not upset by this. I expect these things from her.”
“You don’t have to explain yourself, Amya. However, you feel is perfectly fine. I am here to listen, not judge.”
“Thankfully.” I chuckled and shifted to hide my discomfort. “My mother does enough of that for everyone.”
“Why do you think that is?”
“Why do I think what is?”
“…your mother…why do you think she judges you?”
“I don’t think, I know – and it’s because she does. Not that I blame her for it. That’s what mother’s do…right?” I smiled, poorly.
“Who told you that?”
“No one. It just….is…. you’ve seen…them…. mothers” As soon as I said it, she began scribbling ferociously in her little pad. I felt judge each time she did this.
“So, let’s pause here for a moment. You said the term “mothers” with such…disdain. Would you like to elaborate on your tone?”
“Tone?” I said coyly.
“If you prefer not to speak on it, that’s fine too.” She smiled, and scribbled in her tablet once more.
“It’s not a tone. It’s the way I say the word” I blurted, feeling the need to defend myself.
“Understood.” She continued writing without looking up. “So, let’s shift gears for a moment. How are things at home?”
I sighed and looked at my watch. We still had about fifteen minutes…too much time for me to avoid the question, but enough to be vague.
“It is what it is.”
“And that means….?”
“Things are the same. I’m not sure what you’re looking for…but there’s nothing else to say here.”
“I see.” She started writing again. “Have you made any progress with telling your family your truth?”
I cringed. “NO.”
She stared with a blank expression as I continued, “…with all of this going on, it just wasn’t the time.” I said nonchalantly.
“Amya.” Her voice was soothing and warm. “You said that a year ago because you were moving, four months ago because you said your mother wasn’t ready, and now this. You do realize, no time will ever be the right time. The longer you wai—”
“I know.” I held up my hand and let out a deep sigh. “I’m not trying to prolong things. It’s just…complicated. If you knew my mother…”
She cut me off. “This isn’t about your mother. You are an adult. You make the decisions for your life. If you continue to give away your power as if you are still a child, she will continue to treat you as such.”
“Well,” I said abruptly, “…I’m not ready.”
“That’s good. That’s progress. It’s good you can admit that you’re not ready. You’re taking responsibility for your own actions and decisions. Excellent work Amya.”
She smiled pleasantly. I relaxed.
“You understand, waiting isn’t going to make it any easier. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to untangle it all.”
“Humph.” I chortled. “What’s a few more turds among a mound of bullshit?”
“A few more pieces of shit you’ve got to clean up…but if you don’t mind…” She shot a stern look in my direction before jotting a few more notes in her tablet and flipping it closed.
“Alright,” Her tone was suddenly light and airy. “Your exercise for the week is to talk to your mother again – and this time from the place of an adult. Make sure your father joins if he can. And remember, you must be present in the moment. Remember your own voice – you are not a child, speaking to her mother, you are an adult speaking to another adult about your truth. You have a right to know this, but she has a right to refuse. Prepare yourself for this rejection – again – and this time, find a way to cope around her rejection.”
I sighed. I’d confronted my mother as planned, passing along the message from the mysterious Darryl D. Height in hopes of a reaction, but she gave me none. She didn’t even flinch when I handed her the photo. She glanced at it, briefly, and mumbled something about a dog not rotting with the rest of the dead hounds. Before saying, “She’s your cousin.”
“I had a twin.” She explained, “She’s dead. This is her daughter. You two looked a lot alike as babies, and I guess you never grew out of it.”
She spoke as if we were talking about the weather. I wished my father were here, he’d make sure she spoke – cordially. Oddly, he was called away to an “emergency deacon’s meeting” at the church– at least that’s the story my mother tells.
“What…” My mouth dropped and I stared at my mother.
“It’s not a big deal, don’t be so dramatic about it.”
“Not a big deal…mom…she is identical to me!”
“She doesn’t look that much like you, Amya. You’re always exaggerating everything.”
“…exaggerating? Mom, they have the dimple and all! Are you sure there’s something you’re not telling me?” I begged, desperate for the truth.
She claimed her sister died long ago and Ameya had been raised by “a family full of abominations,” and insisted “her type of influence” wasn’t needed in my life. When I made the mistake of probing for details, she became upset and slapped me.
“You dare question my authority? Remember your place, child!” She glared, before adjusting her blouse and tussling her hair.
“Now go in there and clean yourself up before Derrick gets home; and do something with this house. It’s a mess, and it stinks in here.”
She didn’t bother explaining anything else, not even the situation with Darryl. Instead, she demanded I keep from my father, and forbid me from further contact with Ameya before storming out the door.
That was the end of the conversation.
It was over as quickly as it started, and all I’d gained was a bruised cheek and knowledge of a dead twin I never knew my mother had. Still, things didn’t make sense. Ameya looked too much like me to be “just a cousin”. Both she and the man in the photo had a deep dimple in their right cheek and a slight one in the left – just like me.
It was such a huge deal because no one else in the family had this trait. They were so fascinated with it that they called me “dimples” for years until I demanded they stop. Everyone except my mother, she always refused. Now I suspected I knew why.
I was so annoyed with my her reaction that I immediately called to set up an emergency appointment with my therapist. I wanted to vent my frustrations and find my voice to confront my mother, again.
My therapist had a way of helping me do that.
“Well…” Dr. Sanchez wiped a strand of hair away from her mouth. “Looks like our time today is up.” She stood and smiled in a business-friendly manner.
“Thank you, Dr. Sanchez.” I was happy the time was up. I didn’t want to get into anything else with her today; plus, I needed to get across town for my massage if I didn’t want to be late for tonight’s dinner.
“I’ll still see you in a few days for our regular appointment.” I gathered my belongings and headed toward the door. Dr. Sanchez stopped me on the way out.
“Amya, don’t tempt yourself with the truth, until you’re willing to confess it.”
She clasped her hand around my arm and squeezed gently. I nodded, forcing a smile before turning away. I was a terrible liar. You could see it all over my face; just as I could see the disappointment all over hers.
I was on the way to do exactly what she advised against; but I needn’t tell her that. She’d been my therapist for the past year, she knew.
She knew me well.