Christina Henriquez · Love

It’s the stranger feeling whenever I see him – like seeing the love of your life, the one who left you, when you’re just out doing errands, trying to keep up with the business of the everyday. You half want to run and jump on them and bury your face in their neck and hold on forever and you half want to turn away, shielding yourself.


I felt like there was something I was supposed to say, some perfect thing a person better than me would be able to come up with. “I’m sorry” – I said again. She shrugged.


I’d always thought there was something special between my mother and me. Like she was somehow more mine then my brother’s. But maybe all children feel that – a sovereignty of ownership over the parent they love best.


It’s by César Vallejo. I sit down and he reads it to me. I don’t understand poetry the way he does. Things either sound good to me or they don’t. That’s it. The poem he reads tonight is short. It’s about the poet’s brother, who died. My favorite line is: “And now a shadow falls on the soul”. I feel the tears burn behind my eyes.


At the funeral, a photograph of my mother sits on an easel next to the urn. It’s black-and-white, all soft edges and haze. She is too young for me to recognize her. I wonder, if I hadn’t been her daughter, if I had just met this woman in the photograph on the street, would I have liked her? but it’s a stupid thing to wonder, because of course I would have. I would have loved her anytime.


I knew she was only trying to hurt me because I had hurt her. Her brand of meanness was of the temperate variety. 

Come together, fall apart – Christina Henriquez


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