Love Below Zero

THREE

I made it home seconds before the sky pelted rain against my windows. It was so bad I couldn’t see outside but that didn’t bother me. I danced to the sound of nature, shimmied to raucous thunder and swayed my hips to the lightening. Weather like this makes me smile, it’s soothing and refreshing. After the storm died down, I open up the windows to let the clean breeze blow in. I burn the wick of a cashmere scented candle and waltz on the tips of my toes toward the kitchen. Ahi tuna and salad will be tonight’s dinner. My mind often wanders while sharp objects are in my hand and my mind takes me to Jesper the dream killer. He doesn’t seem like a bad man just a realist. Too much reality can drive a person crazy, make them see the awful side of life and it’s inhabitants. I’m not naive, I know there is evil just waiting to grab me by the throat, but I’m not going down easy. I’ve been through too much just to throw in the towel because of minor setbacks.

Once I have my meal prepared, I slide onto the couch, legs crossed, munching on leafy greens and tomatoes. As I unwind, I reach for the laptop that I keep on my coffee table and boot it up. While I listen to it hum, updates conveniently impede clicking and scrolling through Netflix. After waiting for a solid fifteen minutes that familiar red logo appeared before my eyes. Scrolling down, I pick up where I left off with Dear White People. Sam and Reggie are a thing, quietly for the time being. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character so confused or perhaps hypocritical like Sam. Sometimes I’m under the notion that our people want what’s best for us but we want it all as well without any backlash. Sam is adamantly “pro black” but dated a white guy in secret. Yet, I’m here watching a complex yet naive portrait of who we think we are or ought be even under the watchful eyes of insensitive whites.

I’m sitting here shaking my head at Troy’s overbearing father, he reminds me of my mother. She wanted me to become what she couldn’t, a doctor. Kukulaniahua got as far as acting as a traveling nurse in the military. She cited times were different then and so with it women’s rights. But she badgered me day and night that I have better opportunities than she did and that I’m wasting it on something as mundane as baking. If you think my mother is a traditional Hawaiian mother, think again. She was never nurturing, things had to be her way even with our father. Kuku was hard-nosed and determined to twist my siblings under her tutelage, and she won, more so with my brother. Last I spoke to my sister Kokowaika, she’d made it into a nursing program probably hating every second of it.

I was never built with such a low spirit that anyone could walk all over me, force me into submission under threats or the guise of mother knows best. She is why our father left, not even he could put up with the stress of her nagging about him being a community college professor. Kuku lamented time and again father should go where the money is, University. Since he left, I’ve not seen or spoken to him. We were close, he and I. There’s a part of me that still longs for his loving arms. I know his intention wasn’t to abandon us, but that’s what happened.

Society produces people like my mother and programs them to think the rat race for more is sustainable but in actuality it’s killing us as a collective. We tell kids they can be anything they want to be, but it isn’t true, we can only do and do well where our true gifts lie. Some have to really mine and unearth those gifts while others have them above ground. The perils of those who go against the system will taste bitterness before any sweetness hits their senses. But it’s far better to buck the system and those who uphold those ideals as true law, than to become a willing puppet even if those puppets are our parents.

Digesting the last morsel of my seared Ahi, my phone rings and I see it’s none other than my mother. I don’t want to argue with her but she pushes me to repeat what I’ve said a hundred times, that I will not bend or break or listen to twisted counsel or give up on my dreams no matter how many times she tries to talk me out of it. But, I answer anyway, she is my mother after all, even at a distance.

“Hello mother.”

“Lani, how are you?”

“I’m well. How are you?”

“If you called your mother, you’d know.”

I grit my teeth and lift my eyes heavenward. But I push on. “Is there something wrong?”

“No, I called to inform you about your brother’s recent position. He’s finally become a neurosurgeon.”

“That’s…nice.”

“See what hard work does? It eventually pays of. If you’d followed the path already laid out for you-”

“I followed my path and I haven’t regretted it.”

“I can’t believe you want to open some rinky dink store-”

“Bakery, and Wicked Temptations has been open for six months and is thriving. This is all thanks to the people who share common dreams. We all keep each other going and our customer’s flood in every single day to taste what we bake up. It’s nothing to look down on, mother.”

“It’s nothing to smile at either. Do you know most businesses fail within the first year?”

“I’m not interested in statistics that have nothing to do with me. We are doing well and it would be nice to have your support but that would be too much to hope for.”

“We are having a family dinner and you need to be here to celebrate your brother’s accomplishments.”

“I’m not coming. Goodnight mother.”

It’s just like her to ignore what matters to me. She’s always so biased to the point of blindness. It’s fine though, I’ve made it this far without her help or acknowledgement that I’m determined now more than ever to keep following the path I’ve created for myself.

Bitterness sat on the top of my tongue after our light verbal sparring that I took my plate into the kitchen, washed it, set it aside to dry and tipped off to the bathroom. There I brushed away tonight’s dinner and rancid phone call and tried to quell my rising anger. Before bed, I have to meditate and cleanse my mind and spirit of any negativity to fight for another day. Everything is going to be alright, I just have to keep my focus. My instincts have never failed me when I listen, Wicked Temptations is proof of that. So, if anyone has a problem with it, they can go play with themselves.

Love Below Zero part 4.

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