I skipped school today, again. Instead, I broke down in a gynocologist's office, ignoring the dirty looks of several oldsters (not that I can blame them. Think about it. Why would a sobbing teen in a dark-colored hoodie be in a gyno during a school day, one hand on her belly, accompanied by a grumpy mother and scheduled to get an ultrasound of her uterus? Of course, their assumptions were wrong, but I felt a little stung by their wordless accusations, nevertheless).
The atmospheres of waiting rooms are always charged. You look up to see someone's eyes on you, speculating, wondering: what's she got? They look away, too quickly, but the thought remains. You never do get used to watchful, observant, curious eyes on you. Your skin crawls. Foot-tapping, eyes itching towards the clock. A monotonous, repeated routine. I am a separate entity, but I and all these waiting people are joined in our common worry, our common purpose.
While we were driving home, I plugged in the headphones on my mother's mobile phone and listened to the forty principles while she sang along with the Nino Bravo song on the Oldies station. I wanted to be ignored. I did not want to talk to her, I wanted to be alone with myself, and I'm sure some subconcious part of Mom will have registered that. She chose to ignore it, though.
"Nino Bravo died in a traffic accident."
"Mmhum." I nod morosely. My foot is tapping with the robotic rhythm of the pop song: voy, caminando por la vida, sin pausa pero sin prisa…I'm walking through life, without pause and without hurry…
"I thought his wife was so superficial. When he died, she said: tengo un florero en la cabeza. I've got flowers on my head, or something to that effect. I never really understood that, until now."
There's a tone creeping onto my mother's voice now, and so I quietly turn off the radio on the phone and listen to her, while pretending to stare out the window.
"I think she meant that, it's better not to think about everything that's happened to you. It's better to walk through it, numb, flowers on your head, mind blank. You don't suffer. You don't think. It's better that way."
We're turning a round-a-bout now, onto the street of our apartment building.
I look at her. Her colored hair, the jangly bracelet on her wrist. Does she sympathize with Nino Bravo's widow? Does she know what it's like, to wear flowers on your head? Has she suffered enough to consider not feeling a good thing?
I decided, right then, that I was not going to let my selfish, idiotic troubles get to me. I was going to put my feet on the ground, feel the rain on my shoulders, stop crying. Because the more distraught I became, the number I would feel. Flowers, falling on my shoulders.
How can I let them stop me from feeling, no matter how badly I hurt?