September 25, 2007

She Applies Makeup Well and Eats Donuts Too

by Marcus Gonzales-DeCardenas

“Mommy? Mommy, are we still going to church today?”

I gazed at my mother’s large bed curiously and intently poised for her answer. It was fifteen minutes before ten o’clock, the hour which she normally reserved for church time. We would wake up at eight and spend the following hour and a half bathing and selecting our outfits carefully, considering the outfits we had worn to church for the previous several weeks to make sure that we weren’t being seeing in clothes that her mother’s friends had recently noticed.

“No, sweetie. How about we go out for donuts instead?”

Staring at the ceiling, her eyes read the three double shots of Glenlivet and the half pack of Saratoga cigarettes that she imbibed the previous evening at JR’s, the local two-story gay bar where friends would gather on the second-story patio, either to make out, drink, or to yell playful and suggestive obscenities to the passing well-dressed men showered in hickeys and cosmopolitan stains wandering in and out of The Village and comfortably-dressed women hand-in-hand with their lipstick girlfriends stumbling in and out of Sue Ellen’s.


She put on her glasses and I climbed into her bed, only half-dressed as to appear as if I had taken the initiative to begin to get ready. My dress clothes against her bedsheets left me with guilty pleasure and while she slept for another thirty minutes I studied her face, recounting the details of her face that I am now beginning to notice in mine: the narrowing eyes, the maturing angles, and the postured lips that developed through her early- and into her mid-twenties. Annoyed with the distinctly warm air that came through her nostrils, I carefully snuck out of her bed and watched Rocko’s Modern Life, waiting for her to wake up for the second episode.

When she did, we sat and watched together, sometimes laughing at the same time and at other times my laugh coming just half a moment after hers in response to the more sophisticated jokes that only grown-ups were supposed to appreciate.

After the episode, we got ready. I changed into a slightly more casual outfit and after I was done I watched her sit at her vanity listening to David Bowie while she applied lipstick in her traditional fashion: foundation, smoothed with powder, then her first layer of deep carmine lipstick, followed with another blot of powder, and topped with a final layer of lipstick. Each successive lipstick application was impressed into a square belonging to a sheet of paper towel, creased into twenty-fourths, in the end resembling an Andy Warhol print.

“Okay. Let’s go.”

We stepped into her big palatinate purple van and she curled her eyelashes and took a big gulp of her 64 oz. jug filled with tar-like coffee, and as we drove down Central Expressway to the donut shop we pointed and laughed at the upscale, snooty women driving uncomfortably in their light gold Lexuses.

“Two plain donuts, one blueberry donut, one glazed donut, two kolachis.”

We looked into the donut case, and at the warm kolachis gently fogging the glass of their case, and then we sat in our stationary van for breakfast, instead of eating them as we drove further down the expressway hurrying to church.

“I loooovvvvveee sausage”, my mother moaned ecstatically. I laughed. “So what are we going to tell Grandma?” “I guess we’ll just have to make something up.” I smiled and asked if we had any errands to do. She sighed. “Yeah. I need to go to Kinko’s and run some copies for the office and we might need to pick up a few groceries.”

We sat in the van for another five or ten minutes after we finished, staring into the foggy morning thinking about and discussing gossip about her friends and our family.

This became our new Sunday morning tradition: her uncomfortable lecture from the teetering decrepit priest as she sat disdainfully but nonetheless well-poised among the wealthy Highland Park women and my trivial and uninspiring lesson from my Sunday School instructor as I sat and appeared vacuous only changing my facial expression to a false attentive smile while answering questions—all replaced by warm pigs in blankets and moist plain donuts and fabulous conversation of how Dawne lost all of that weight so fast and why Sean always flaked on her and her girlfriend at the gay bars and the disgusting, eye-watering furniture her mother had recently purchased.

This was our new religious practice.


jessicorvus said...

You know what I find pretty scary?


Dude, it's a little scary to read your stuff -not only bc of my perspective (well the obvious reason, I did birthe you and this is about you and me), but because of the similarities of our writing styles. It's flippin' freaky -really flippin' freaky.

Your maaaaa'aaaaam

Khalipha said...

Good for people to know.