Friday, September 10, 2010

My Mother's Mother

Here I sit in the outskirts of your paradise, my
fear, my head between my aging hands. I am nearly four annual-
filled miseries away from thirty, and I cannot
smoke these Marlboros fast enough to lay
deep within this lawn, entangled in
your see-through, vein-faced arms.

A year ago, about a leisurely moving quarter
past twelve in the ample, starlit morning, I fell
into a sweet, undisturbed, blue
laziness. A year ago, about an obdurate half
past twelve in the excruciatingly sunlit
afternoon, you blundered at the evening’s impending
moon, and prayed us a fond

After my birth, I was diagnosed as emotionally
ill. During your life, I accepted the sentiment of being
rescued. After it, I was prescribed peace in the form of
a pill. I ruminate your essential complexion urgently
through my head; a sovereign foreigner, a human
chimney that could out smoke any man, a barbecuing chicken-
charcoal loving queen, and a powerful woman afflicted
by Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Emphysema, and Asthma.

A tattered snapshot of you, sending
me off to tap the sublime heights of indispensable
youth on a rubber seat, holding on for Crayola-
obsessed life manifested into chains, that reads Kodak in
grey type, housed in a teal-sparked, copper-
made skeleton, remains obligated to all the park
birthday parties you sumptuously hosted. The homeless
and I never went hungry.

You had clothed me in tender pride up until your final
lungful. You fed me Big Macs minus the thousand-
island dressing, bought me bouncing tie-dye balls, and acrylic
paint. I remember your laughter, the dearest
dose to a six-year-old’s despondency, as you’d make me
breakfasts of splendid glory to wake to.

Your body was exhausted of that phenomenally, godly
spirit on a Thursday morning. I now wake to
your license of vocal sound tapped out
at the hub. Frozen, green grape promises waft
through my conscience. Your remains reside in
thoughts of immortality, as the vision of your curls
doused in Alberto V05’s hot oil keep me afloat, while
spun out on your lingering nicotine.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Goodbye Grandma: Sept.10, 2009

It's 12:56 in the morning on September 11,2009, just 12 hours, give or take a
few, into my immortal's spirit having said goodbye to this still yet difficult place. Losing her was something inevitable, yes, but necessary, I claim undeniably false. Even after playing this moment in my mind over and over again, I never thought my worst nightmare would manifest itself into broad daylight anytime soon. I cannot dance with these devils and their significant faces without you.
I hold fast to the courage and force that you, as a mother, instilled within me, as the spirit that surrounds me here today evokes our countless escapades, and I smile reluctantly towards another, yet that flash of an uncreated memory is nowhere in sight and granted, away from my tangible grasp. I realize how lucky I am as your granddaughter to have been blessed with such a piece of divine perpetual bliss upon my childhood. From our Big Mac's minus the Thousand Island dressing, to your remote control freakouts, "Now put on some CNN instead of this Nickelodeon", from you incessantly kissing the policeman's hand that summer when we got pulled over, on the way to your fictitious Disneyland, to that day at the courthouse when you proclaimed you knew English, "but not exactly".
If only the man in the moon would transport me back in time for just another Saturday afternoon in your sweet care, if only....

I am reminded of the toughest moment in my life, as my parents' love fell apart, it
runs rampant in my frightened mind as I lay, trouble dreaming, while you twist, a young, tantalizing, beautiful gypsy in my heart. You were there that tumultuous summer when I lost what I knew to be home, and as the hours beat away in my mind, I wish I were there as your courageous fortitude drifted away and out of what had been home to you. Thank you for saving my life, listening to my fears, and calming my adolescent tears. I will forever remain indebted, and inebriated off the beauty you as a woman, kind and motherly, exemplified within these tarnished moments of my existence. I find it sacred and bittersweet; I was fighting such sadness, refusing to wake into the start of a brand new day, as you took your nap after polishing off what became your last meal. You exhaled into heaven, as I inhaled into living the first day of the rest of my life, without you, unknowingly.

You were the first sunflower that bloomed within my desolate garden that
summer when my mother got sick. You uncompromisingly drove me to the city of hope
that first day of 8th grade, and you, you were my city of hope those latter summer days in and autumn days out. I wonder if I ever returned the persistent favors you granted me, without question, back to you.

I recall being a sleepless child upon one of the many beds in your orphanage.
I remember the smell of your hair, blown out forming beautiful gold ringlets at the ends. I reminisce eating chelo-kabob in your walk-in closet with little Jessica in tow, during family gatherings. I reflect upon meeting you and grandpa at the Northridge mall that simple Saturday with my father, and having pizza for lunch. Oh, how much you loved my father. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that alone.
I muse over your lavish black, sun-sparked golden dress at Sarah's bat mitzvah, and how mesmerized I was as an eight year old, the way it hung on your regal body...wishing I would grow to be as composed and unyielding as you.
I learn by heart where you would stash all your cigarettes, money, lipstick, and lighter...and no, it was not in a purse.
I keep in mind how you'd give me money on occasion and told me not to tell
grandpa...Sorry grandpa.
I'll never forget how I'd give you and grandpa tests to quiz your knowledge about
whatever the subject, and you'd always get A's, and we'd give grandpa F's to make you
Your laugh, the right anecdote for any six-year-olds heartache.

I will never fail to hold on to your simplistic nature when I was in preschool...
you would ask me for directions to get me there on time, even though you knew where
you were going all the while.

If I could talk to you one last time, I'd ask, who else is to take pride in me as I
shoot for the stars? Who else is to drive aimlessly till we find some destination.. .maybe Vegas this time, or back to the meat market? Who else is to yell at grandpa because you sent him out to buy Pepsi and he came back home with a 12-pack of soda cans that had another woman on it (Princess Leah during The Star Wars Craze)...Who else?

Growing up, It was almost as if I only took breaths because it insured yet another
second in your arms. Grandma, I'll commit you to memory each and every time I look up, up at the heavens, and smile goodbye.

Chapter One: August 26, 2010

The classroom clock struck 2:45 pm. I looked over to my left and through the bungalow window spotted her pulling her lighter out of her breast's humble abode and lighting up her infamous Marlboro. She was wearing her black slacks, gold flats, and her hair was highlighted and done up in the style that Farrah Fawcett made famous in the 1970's.

The year was 1993; I was a fourth grader and was desperate to make new friends who would never leave "chia pet" jokes up to their imagination. My grandmother made her way upon school grounds instead of waiting in her car in the unloading children zone, and sat upon a wooden bench besides the handball courts, casually smoking her cigarette. All I thought was, "holy crap, my grandmother must be breaking the LAUSD's number one law...smoking in an institution that houses children 11 years and younger for 7 hours a day."

I was mortified and began praying silently to god in hopes that no one would see her foreign body, a slightly well speaker of english, and perhaps get me into trouble. Bless her heart and the many apprehensive minutes of my youth that have undoubtedly been attributed to her delicate, amorous, godly-like existence.

I have spent many nights during the past year, including the night she died, laying awake around half past two in the morning listening to Simon and Garfunkel's "Bookends". "Long ago it must be, I have a photograph. Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you." I have a photograph of her and my parents on my nightstand. My mother, a starlet of the early 80's stands to her mother's left, and my father stands on my grandmother's right, kissing her rose-stained cheekbone as delight frames her face, and curlers keep her tendrils pinned up, allowing me to admire her beauty some decades later.
I mentioned it at her funeral, and I'll mention it again despite people begging to differ, my eyes never lost sight upon how much she cared for my father. I will appreciate her for that, amongst everything else, till the day I die and am reunited with her.

I remember one night when I was 18 that our family had gathered at her house. She had asked me if I wanted to spend the night, after all I grew up nestling my head upon her chest and sleeping beside her every weekend up until I was about 15, and I remember having said that I'd rather go home. That conversation and the look of faint gloom on her face hits me on random days, at random hours, and the tears stream uncontrollably down my face.
Grandma, I never meant to grow up. I never meant to decline your offer. I never meant to grow out of our bond. I never meant to say no. If I were offered the chance to wake up to the smell of tea, milk and cigarettes wafting through the room, and the sound of her and grandpa conversing over the CNN news reporter, I would without a doubt accept. A breakfast consisting of pouched eggs with tomatoes and raw, white onions on the side has never again hit the spot the way it did each time I woke to her beautiful face and to her distinct smell of Alberto V05 shampoo, rose water and Marlboros.

This past week I began my master's program in English and as I sat in my first class, I smiled at the thought of her. When I was 15, I had told her that I wanted to be a choreographer, and to a 74-year-old foreigner, a "dancer" and a choreographer do not differ much. She said I should pursue it, and a minute later corrected herself. She had thought I meant stripper and said, "Me khai raghas beshee? Khob beshoe, vallee nah vaseh kar. Khoob neest zan een karaho bokoneh." My grandfather changed the subject and pointed to Christiane Amanpour on CNN and said that I soon would be like her, and then grandma smiled. I probably won't make it on TV but I'll make it somewhere, surely not on a pole yet somewhere that would've made her proud.

I don't know what else to say. Her passing was something I could have never prepared for, and I poured my heart's discontent out then. Losing someone you love is like a current you fight from drowning against. Simply put, there is only half of my life's hope that lives beating beside me now. She is gone, and for now thankfully my father still remains. I am at a loss for words. I still cannot imagine what has become of her and there is concrete evidence that lies against this fear, supporting it persistently from this day forth. My father could fall away from my sight tomorrow, and the other half of my hope will die along with him. I find it a delicate impression; my life's happiness began in the arms of the woman who gave birth to my mother, a woman whose happiness began in the arms of the man who will always be responsible for the end of mine, dead or alive.

Margrit Chaman Khankhanian: May 20, 1925 - September 10, 2009
You were my best friend and though I must live now with half of my being intact, I wish you sweet dreams of an epic magnitude, tonight and every night, knowing that you will always be something otherworldly, divine and simply impeccable. I love you always, now and forever.