I can't sleep again...
I think too much I think.
I saw my mother today--well? today was mother's day, so of course I went to see my mom.
Now therein lies a word of connotation.
"Mom" and faux frowned cotton candy, and a hard face cloth to keep it clean. (Remember how they wiped too rough--and shudder now, remembering--she almost succeeded in wiping the smile off of my face.)
I got good at undertables.
I would hide there, and count my breath easy, praying I wouldn't be detected, (and thus sent back to the land of the sibling.)
I would hide there, beneath the table, watching my mother's nervous jig of leg as she played cards, sometimes so fast I was amazed, and I imagined her leg as a moth in toss of the Amazon, rare and beautiful, and the very speed of that bouncing knee I likened to the wings of imagery.
I always knew when my mother was bluffing.
Her voice was pitched but casual - her manner too offhand in times of stress. She never could play poker to her own advantage, but should someone else suggest "Bouret"?
Now that was mamma's game.
Dealer's choice, and when she heard, "Bouret" she would pound the table in glee.
It always startled me - explosions and the tremoring - but I learned a silent stoicism. I knew my situation was tenuous, and I had no desire of discovery and the resulting eviction.
So I withstood the table pounding, watching the legs shiver as I gathered myself in the center, noting the ripplings of the pressboard, praying I was safer there, huddled just beneath the pot.
I was just a child, of course, but somehow, as I look back on things, I think I had better instincts then. I made a happy home for myself there, protected by the legs of the card-playing neighbors--keeping mental notes of disparities.
(Greta Shwartz wore panty hose that bagged at the ankles and her feet smelled funny. Mr. Shwartz wore loafers with dimes in them, and I dreamed of piracy at times.)
Quietly, of course.
But then they called for a game of "Bouret", and I watched my mother's knees dance happy then--pressed together swaying, and I heard her humming along with the stereo, reaching for Patsy Cline in whine as she reached for cards in deal to complete what I understood beneath, was dealt the perfect hand.
I heard the flipping of the cards in a rare moment of quiet.
Silence, as all awaited the announcement of what would be trump as I sat below, curious, wishing I had eyes to see...
"Spades it is..." the dealer sang.
I heard a collective groan, and then, I understood he had the ace.
I understood because I heard my mother laughing, but kinda pissed.
"You got my card!" she laughed at him. "Just look at this!"
She tossed her royal hand into the pot, face up, revealing she had won the round--the King held court with all attendees, and my I thought I saw the knees of my mother blush.
They all laughed good naturedly, and pushed the mound of change toward her (with not a few dollar bills) conceding that round of play.
I remember smiling up at the tabletop, listening to the change scrape happy noise, smiling wide to the happy voice of my mother, sounding feminine and strange to my ear as she purred, "drinks are on me boys..."
She sounded sexy.
I held my mouth tight to stop the outright giggle, amazed that I had heard so much and lived.
Then I heard felt my mother's hand, ruffling my hair as she cooed:
"Time for bed, babygirl."
* * *
Mothers always know.
* * *
She kissed me sweet, I remember. So I went to bed, half daze dancing in the child sleepiness of love, and a mamma who had won "a pot" of pretties, cooing, "I love you."
* * *
Happy Mother's Day.