Fiction

Where's Your Sense of Humor?

Translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen

November 01, 2009

It was not abnormal: love. For a person to fall in love, to construct a love that was young and innocent, but terrible. Nothing abnormal either about believing that everyone was against her—according to Freud, paranoia is a natural reaction of young love. Except that in my case the paranoia was not without basis. It sat firmly on my mother’s shoulders, her whole body its pedestal as a frown descended over her face and she lifted her hands to the sky and groaned when the black object of her hatred came to visit: my First Boyfriend, sitting there—in HER CHAIR!—sporting dark glasses on a dark autumn Friday, under the obvious influence of marijuana. Lighten up, Ma; where’s your sense of humor? But my mother, my single mother, in particular with respect to her thirteen-year-old, pubescent, menstruating daughter, has no sense of humor. Not a drop. My single mother in particular is weighted down with suspicions, rigid with severe admonitions founded on statistics, opinion polls, worst-case scenarios. All of which had nothing, or very little, but more likely nothing at all to do with the fact that her daughter was in love for the first time. Instead of tenderness and concern, the punishments and prohibitions rained down like leaves dropping prematurely from the trees. That autumn never went away: it toppled the future before it in a domino reaction. Fast forward, when what I wanted was rewind.

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