I walked into an open door at the grocery store. A woman walked out just as I stepped through and she snipped at me, “This! Is! The! OUT DOOR!” And my blood boiled at this righteous woman being so snippy that I yelled back, “Oh yeah! Just like your mouth, that door was open!”
But actually I didn’t say anything, I just looked back at her, her black curls around bouncing away and all the rage I felt came out as I said back at her, “Whatever!” It was a whisper. A hot wasted breath when I could have been: 1) mature 2) a grown lady 3) slow to anger like Beyoncé 4) reggaeton hip swirling like Rihanna 5) confusing the hell out of people as to why I’m dancing next to the bread loaves.
All better choices than getting mad at a stranger! Especially when I was wrong. And I could have just said sorry! Instead of being filled with the kind of adrenaline that could lift a car off a baby. Maybe that’s how I could save lives, like a dispatcher calls me and mutters, “Well I know why you didn’t have a boyfriend in high school and there’s a cat stuck up a tree,” and I would be so enraged that I would uproot the tree and save the cat and hate that kind of job forever.
And to say, “Whatever!” All the years I spent in speech and debate and general Internet message board one upmanship should have equipped me with something more cutting than a line from the movie Clueless. I calmed myself down by buying a pumpkin pie, learning that it was $3 off and I got a tub of fresh whipped cream for free. Nothing soothes the savage beast of an islander in the wrong like a pie on sale.
Whatever, It was delicious.
I took my mom out to shop for clothes. I told her I would be in the dressing room trying on some things. A few minutes later, I hear my mom calling out to me then knocking on the door. She said in Chamorro that she wanted to sit down but there was a man on the bench and she was ashamed to ask him to move over, which is something my Americanized mouth would have said. So she wanted to sit in the room, a dressing room smaller than an IKEA dinner table. And I let her in. And she watched me try on clothes and of course said things like, “That’s too tight,” and “That’s definitely too tight,” and the ever magical, “That’s too young.”
It also reminded me why I can never get a tattoo while my mother is alive. She’s forbidden it and I know most people would say, you’re an adult, you can do what you want! But most people didn’t grow up under the Catholic administration of my mother, where fear still remains long after I’ve left the home. And also because, it doesn’t matter if I’m an adult, my mom will find some way to see if I have a cherry blossom tree on my back that I cannot explain as a mysterious growth.
I did the most adult thing which is buy two Halloween costumes on sale: a Darth Vader dress in two sizes–one for my 10-year-old niece and one for myself. Maybe people will see us together and confuse us for twins, wherein one twin has a hormone problem and needs to let go of some long held grudges. But I’m ready for next year! How do I look?