I visited my long deceased mother a couple of days ago through an article I read in the Los Angeles Times. It was about a Korean Spa in L.A. where in a uniquely 24-hour spa experience families get together in what looks like a reunion picnic, or summer camp. Some families even spend the night. But on the floors where the men and women part company, there is only one rule: you must get naked. And here’s where I got snagged into connecting with my mother. It was the closing paragraph as described by the author: “I retreated to the darkened room on the women’s floor, passing robed bodies lying end to end, and a mother with her limbs entangled with her daughter’s, all sound asleep.”
That image of the mother and daughter, naked with their legs entwined set up a deep visceral longing within me, a palpable desire to have had that kind of loving intimate relationship with my mother, a relationship I never had, never wanted growing up, not consciously anyway, because I just didn’t trust her. She made me feel all wrong. Sure, I was headstrong, cheeky, and not a boy like she’d wanted, but why couldn’t we connect, cleave together in our femaleness in the African male-dominated society in which we lived? A society she railed against. Did it all boil down to courage and her own disconnect with self; did she just not know how to go to the next step, how to relate to me, a living piece of herself? I’ll never know. We never had a chance to work it out, what with me emigrating to America at 22, and her in Africa and then her death three months before I turned thirty-six. But in my own way through much introspection, I’ve forgiven myself and her for what we didn’t know how to do. This article struck a deeper level of my long path to heal; this time I felt it down to my bones. (photo above courtesy of Alicepopkorn)
This is my first Trifecta writing challenge–33-333 words on the word of the week (mine is 332). This week the word is “heal” in the context of restoring purity or integrity.