In This I Believe
I remember the nights my mother would lean over my bed, kiss my cheek, and say, “I love you the yellowest.” And I would listen to her clunky sandals shuffle across the hall into my sister’s room, and to my sister she would whisper, something, and the only word I could ever seem to make out was “orangest,” but I knew what she was saying. That was Avenel Place to me. I loved it like the rainbow. And when she said these words to me again, on Spooky Hollow Road, I realized how well she knew me, for this time she said “I love you the purplest.” She had not tucked me in for three years; we had not talked for eight months; but still she could pinpoint the color, and it was perfect. She had not forgotten my past, but she had realized who I had become, and she loved the new color just as much as yellow. Even as purple turned her back and hissed many times, she accepted her. And I, in that moment, inhaled and exhaled the most valuable thing in life. My core revolves around acceptance: not judging because of what used to be, but remembering what was, and seeing what is, and trying to accept it.
Sue Holly Mineer said those words to me at age five. I was completely caught up in a world of monarch butterflies, starry games of spy, Fourth of July fireworks, seventy-five cent creamy whips up the street, and managing to wear only my dirt- stained overalls with sunflowers embroidered thick and lovely on the pockets. This in essence was my life, and my life was 63 Avenel Place, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, 41075. But as my hair grew from its bob, and I touched the lips of someone else for the first time, tears were added to my world and obliviousness was taken away. Sue Holly’s eyes began to look tired. I remember loud fights, long cries. I knew why the voices were raised, and I knew why the tears were shed. I knew it was because Dominique was in the hospital, because she had given her life to something material to take away the pain of her unfulfilled dreams, and because it was not the first time she had been hospitalized for her drug induced decision. But that decision of my sister is not what hurt me; it was the tiredness in my mother’s eyes that bare a burden upon my shoulders.
Drausin Foster Wulsin, I guess, in a way, saved her. I still think of the day she told me she was getting married, how I pushed her off the bed, and how she began to cry. But I was not sorry; she was taking Avenel away from me, like heroin was slowly taking my sister from her. I hated him, and I hated her for loving him. I watched him pack up the house I lived in for twelve years, twelve amazing years. This was my home, and it began to blow away in the dust. My mother was no longer Sue Holly Mineer, she was Sue Mineer Wulsin, and I hated Sue Mineer Wulsin with all my heart.
Now I live here: 8375 Spooky Hollow Road, and I hated her and I hated this place for a very long time, until I realized that by loving him, she did not weaken her love for me. And I could no longer live through what had been, not through Avenel, not through Sue Holly, and not through yellow. I would not forget my butterfly times, I would let it be part of who I become, but not dictate who I am. My mother had accepted me, through all the hard times, and it was my turn to accept her. If this had been the way she always were, I would have loved her all the same, I should have been happy for her, for the twinkle had grown back in her green eye.
My life has changed from yellow and has grown into its contrary, its complementary hue. My life is now purple. Through this dark violet, I love music, and I stopped caring what everyone thought, I became the artist I am, and I learned to love everyone. And I am happy, I can finally remember how it felt when the embroidered sunflowers on my overalls rubbed against my thigh, it was bliss. I do not judge, I remember; I try to accept. And I love Sue Mineer Wulsin, I love her the greenest.
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