After a day of splitting apart my fingernails into individual hairs (teeth assisted), Aurora finally texted me again. She says she’ll come find me tomorrow, and we’ll take it from there. I hope she’s feeling better… I’ll just make sure to treat her extra special.
Hmmm… that whole concept is still foreign to me – having someone you can openly care for that’s not your Mom or brother. Someone that makes everything shinier, that lets your heart finally breathe. I love it.
Mom pulled me aside when I got home from school, and sat us down on the living room couch. Things were particularly clean and tidy today, as if her housekeeping engine had been running overtime. Anyway, she told me that she was worried. That she had just started reading my blog a few hours ago – don’t know how she found it.
“Mira,” (what she always calls me) “what’s going on with you and this girl?” She patted me on the thigh. “Not that I care whether it’s a girl, or a boy, but don’t you think she seems a bit unstable?”
I tried not to get up and slap her or something, but I played it cool and turned the tables. Took out my recorder and turned journalist. “So, you mean you weren’t in Suspender? That you don’t know her parents?”
“An interview?” She paused for a few moments, and started to laugh. “No, that’s true enough. Like you wrote, I was a wild one when I was your age. Me and my friends started a whole mess of punk bands, and toured the midwest during high school, when good boys and girls should have been in school and church. I definitely know Aurora’s parents – I remember when she was born – so cute, even then.”
Progress! “But what about all of that mess with the Collective or whatever?”
“Dear, your friend seems to be really confused about that. It’s true, back in the day we all got together and made sort of a distributed commune, called the Collective. Instead of having a home compound or whatever, it lived wherever we did. It was very intense – lots of slogans and rules and dogma – and I didn’t want to raise Joey or you in it. So I left, and brought us all to Portland. I don’t talk to my old friends all that much, but there’s no bad blood that I know of.”
“Are you sure something isn’t going on? Aurora seems convinced that it was a lot more than that.”
“I know – I read! I don’t know what to say. Apparently, after I left it became more of the Cult of Ai – she’s Frisbee’s daughter. It was so sad – her parents died when she was young, and so the Collective took care of her.” She started to stare off in the distance. “She’s really bright, at least that’s what I remember. Her mother was very influential in some circles, and so they treat Ai like she’s royalty – a princess or something.”
“Then why did Aurora say that she’s working with Ai, and that you were doing something really wrong – that you were putting me in danger?”
“Honestly, I don’t know what your friend is thinking. She seems a bit manic and delusional, if you ask me – like she needs some real help. I know you care for her, even though it’s only been a few days. I don’t want to stand in between you two, but I also don’t want you to take her side in some imaginary struggle.” Put her arm around my shoulder. “I don’t want anyone or anything to come between us, OK?”
“OK….” Mom was always touchy-feely and emotionally restrictive, but she also gives me a lot of slack. “It’s just that she’s really starting to convince me, even with the crazy stuff.”
“Don’t you worry about it. Just enjoy her while you can, and if she leaves for a while, and you decide to keep the fire burning, I won’t stand in your way. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I have, but sometimes that’s a lost cause!” Kiss on the cheek. “Not that you’re a lost cause, Mira. You’re my little angel – make that my proto-punk angel – and I’ll love you no matter how much you fuck up.”
Yes, she really talks like that! And she always knows how to talk me down and cheer me up.
“Promise that you’ll tell me all the best stories from when you were my age!”
“I can’t promise that! Too much sex and drugs for any daughter of mine, but I’ll think of some ways to censor it a bit.”
And she did – telling me about the Treehouse and all of the one-in-a-lifetime shows over dinner, but constantly stopping to think of less incriminating highlights to share. It’s great – I just wish she didn’t wait so long to open up that part of her life.
I know you’re reading this, so thanks Mom. Now stop cyber-stalking me already, or I’m going to find a password-protected service!