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My Mother Wanted Me Ugly
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Life falls through your fingers like a grain of salt
Friends fall through your fingers like a grain of salt
Time falls through your fingers like a grain of salt
What else, what else, what else.

This prompt isn’t speaking to me.

I’m trying to remember what I would use that adage for. I’m sure my dad used it. He always used adages to describe his disdain for something. Dad had a lot of disdain. As did my mother. They were two peas in a pod. How about that for an adage? I am floored by how my mother is coming up in my writing of late. And none of it nice. Last night her adage came up in my story about Rich, the construction worker I dated my senior year in high school. He was Rebound Guy #2, who had stolen me from Rebound Guy #1, who my mother did approve.

I met Rebound Guy #1 at TEC – Teens Encounter Christ, a catholic weekend for kids. I don’t know if other’s were sent there to straighten up, but I was sent their to get my shit together. Holy horrors. I was dating a black guy. And the consequences for that was disinheritance from my grandmother, and no college education from my parents. What’s funny writing this tonight is, the realization that Grandma Hays didn’t leave me a thing in her will. I suppose I inherited indirectly from Dad. My brother didn’t inherit from her either. Too bad I didn’t have balls at the time to stand up to either of them. In the end, my mother wore me down, and off to TEC I went, dreading a weekend with a dormitory full of girls. Rebound Guy #1, who is still a friend, was one of the male teen servers at our celebration Sunday dinner. He fell hard for me, and I let him date me. And at a party he was showing me off at, he did that a lot because I was the first catch he hadn’t had for three years in high school. Rebound Guy #2 was at the party and was taller, and darker haired than #1, and probably, who knows why, more fun. #2 didn’t go to college because his dad said he only had money to send one son. #2 was #2 son. #2 was angry, and I often wondered why he didn’t figure out a way to put himself through college or night school or anything because he spent so much time lamenting. Eventually I broke up with him after he drove me to Iowa State and left me there, he lamenting the distance between Peoria and Ames. What I do remember about that breakup is my mother’s ugly advise.

“A woman should never marry beneath herself. A woman can always rise to the level of a man.”

My mother was a snob who didn’t get to go to college. And tonight writing to these prompts and catching up because I got behind this week, I had the oddest awareness. My dad had told my mother when I was in high school that he wouldn’t put her through college. This I learned years later. They’d promised my brother and I that they would pay our way. I’ve probably always known this, but my mother retaliated by not buying me fall school outfits. My mother retaliated by forbidding me to cut my butt-length hair. My mother retaliated by only allowing me to wear foundation on my face to school. No other makeup. My mother wanted me ugly.

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