Trigger Warning: Some parent/child sexual inappropriateness but given the context the content is not likely to cause harm.
I called Emma. “My mom has gone totally psychotic.” I breathed into the phone.
“Mmm.” She said. Emma has intimate knowledge of psychosis.
“What should I do when she wants to… What should I do when she thinks that I’m going to be attacked by ghosts and demons?”
“Don’t worry.” said Emma thoughtfully. “Tell her that you’re under the protection of a very very powerful witch. Actually, two very powerful witches.”
“Emma. Somehow I don’t think that is going to make her feel any better. She already thinks the neighbors are satanists.” Only I pronounce it “Seitan-ists” and we laugh because we’ve both taken turns making seitan in communal kitchen’s at one time or another.
“Well… Tell her I’m not a seitan-ist. Tell her I’m a very powerful priestess. ” She explains. “Tell her that you and your home are under my protection. You’re actually under the protection of two very powerful priestess’s. No malevolent spirits will be bothering you. Your home has been blessed.”
I lie to Emma because I want her to think that she has been helpful. “Well. Thank you. That may be the most useful piece of advice anyone has actually given me.”
She continues. “Anyway, it’s not malevolent spirits you need to worry about anyway. It’s the super nice friendly ones that want to be all buddy buddy that you need to worry about.”
For a moment I wonder why I think of Emma as a perfectly sane and rational witch and my mother as sick.
Thursday night was the worst. My mother didn’t say it out loud but I could tell she thought there was some sort of demon or spirit that wanted to get a hold of me and do sex things to me. She made me cover my hair with the little beret my tia had crocheted me and wrap the matching scarf around my neck until no flesh was exposed. She kept pulling down my shirt to cover my belly button and insisted that I keep my legs crossed and that I did not point the soles of my feet toward the western window. At first her requests had seemed benign and she was so frantic, so upset that I was willing to do anything to pacify her. I sat with her all evening trying to watch the telenovelas and becoming increasingly warm and agitated. I wondered how much participation in another person’s psychotic fantasy’s is enabling?
I resented the fact that I had to participate. I’d cut off contact with my dad after the last time we did a telephone exorcism on my apartment. And all mom’s talk of demon and ghost shit was giving me the the heebie-jeebies. It had rained and I’d locked my uncles cat up in the garage. My uncles had eight cats, give or take a few, and none of them have ever had names. He calls them all “Kittito” which is a spanglish word he made up to mean “little cat”. I call Tio Alfonso’s cat “Kittito the Eighth” which I think of as funnier and a bit more distinguished. Sometimes I sing to him “Kittito the eighth I am, the eighth I am” and I laugh to myself and no one seems to think it’s funny. The cat knocked something over in the garage and I heard the sound of glass shattering. My eight year old nephew asked me to investigate, to see what had been broken but I lied and told him it was too cold to open the garage but the truth was I was scared of my mom’s boogie men.
The night before last she’d insisted that she bless my breasts, ass and pussy with holy water she’d made herself. I even stumbled across her emergency supply of repurposed yogurt cups filled with frozen holy water.
It reminded me of the way she would freeze pancakes and casseroles to be reheated when she was short on time and also of the the Mickey Mouse popsicle molds we’d had when I was a child. I wondered what she’d do if I popped a holy ice cub in my mouth and sucked on it.
Holy Water “Insta-Pops” For The Martyr On The Go!
“I’m sorry” she said, making the sign of the cross on each of my breasts. “Turn around.” She made the sign of the cross on my ass, running her finger down my crack and I shivered. “Turn around again.” I turned around grinning as she paused.
“I’m sorry.” She said grimly. “This one is kinda private but I have to do it.”
She pressed her finger to the fleece of my zebra striped pajama pants and made the sign of the cross on my cunt the sprinkled holy water on all my “private places.”
It wasn’t creepy. Just awkward. Incredibly awkward.
I called Emma to tell her the story. “That makes me tremendously uncomfortable.” she said immediately. I was shocked. I didn’t believe anything I could say would make Emma uncomfortable.
“I’m so sorry Emma.” I said, sadly disappointed by my misjudgment. I wondered if my life had become so dysfunctional that I had begun to lose sight of what was appropriate and inappropriate.
“I had only wanted you to laugh. I thought that maybe the story could make you laugh. I mean, I don’t’ think my mom’s a weird pervert or anything. She wasn’t being a creep or anything. She really thought she had to help me.”
“Well.” she said. “You’re a creepy mom fetishist. It explains a lot.” she said.
“I’m sorry.” I said again feeling more miserable.
Her voice was warm and soothing and full of compassion “Don’t worry, I have skeletons in the closet too. We all do.”