My mind is a stew of anecdotes, but I'm too unsettled right now to sort through. I know I haven't written in a while, and it's mostly because while I have a lot to talk about, I don't really have anything to say. It's an important distinction, I think. It's not one to which I pay much attention, granted, but I've always believed that self-awareness is half the battle.
At any rate, I was going to keep my cards close to my chest for a while longer. Except that just now, I was reading something silly, and that old joke about PMS meaning Putting up with Men's Shit surfaced, and the only thing I could think about was my mother's birthday a few years ago.
Frankie was behind in so many things, though he had the basic ingredients that we all have. He had a generous heart, and it was a thrill for him the first time he used his own cash money to buy something for my mother on her birthday. It was just a rose in water under glass, an inexpensive trinket, though pretty nonetheless. It was really sweet, actually, the way he picked it out on his own and showed it to me and my sister later.
He also had a sense of humour, though not sophisticated, not developed, more geared toward slapstick than language-based. Regardless, he understood the value placed on the moment someone opens up a particularly funny card, and lets out a bark of laughter. So off he went, to some store which probably didn't carry Hallmark's Shoebox greetings, but had more in the line of last-minute stuff that aren't particularly clever, usually featuring animals wearing clothes or some such thing, and picked out a birthday card for Mummy.
God only remembers now what the whole joke was about, but I know that part of the punch line on that birthday card was the lame PMS thing, and honestly, Frankie had no idea what PMS really means. He had no concept of the difference between a card a boy would give his mother, and one that a girl would give her best friend. I'm pretty sure, frankly, that the only thing that got him giggling as much as he did was the fact that the word "shit" was right there, emblazoned on a greeting card for all mature grown-ups in the know to chuckle about.
I can't explain to you right now why my heart is flip-flopping, now and then, as my sister and I both hid our horror at the thought of Frankie giving my mother this card on her birthday. We pulled it off, and he totally understood, and you could see that he was kind of disappointed with himself because he got the wrong end of the stick. In the end, he probably didn't understand much beyond the fact that giving your mother something with the word shit on it isn't a good thing, and so went to get her something with flowers on it. I don't know why that moment was so heartbreaking, and I'd sort of forgotten about it until just now. Maybe it's the possible embarrassment that he wouldn't have recognized, or maybe it's the idea that his sense of humour never got a chance to mature. I don't know. Whatever it is, it stings now just the same as it did then.
I just wish it would get out of my head.
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