We are a fragmented unity. Like Picasso’s paintings, we are a broken, mismatched collection of parts that have been carefully assembled by the creator to present to the world the image, in our case, of a family. Like the figures in Picasso’s works, we are identifiable by the viewer as the intended image: family. And, like Picasso’s work, we are made up of straight lines, sharp edges, pointed, unbending angles, and unbalanced parts.
I didn’t mean to break the rules. I didn’t mean to get sick. I didn’t mean to get divorced. The paths in my life just didn’t curve the way Mother and Daddy intended them to; I just couldn’t see the yield signs or the stop signs, and for some reason, my foot got heavy and I sped through all the yellow lights. Mother and Daddy were strong, though, bold and solid and impossible to erase. They kept me glued to them; they didn’t let any part of me fall away. And to my credit, I learned well. Look at me now, goddamnit, I’ve kept my own family together in spite of all the hardships that ripped at my heart!
I just wish everyone would be as happy and content in their lives as I have been. I like the rules and order set forth by Mother and Daddy – they made life easy to understand for me. I always knew what to do, where to do it, and how to do it – no questions or confusion for me. Everyone keeps shifting, though. Changing, moving, twitching, flip-flopping. It drives me nuts! Why do they have to ask so many questions? If only they would follow the map prescribed by Mother and Daddy, they would see that there really are no questions to be asked. They keep saying and doing and thinking stupid things. I just don’t understand.
I’m the one who broke the fragile family vase. I think Dad kind of liked the explosion, but he would have preferred it, had the pieces fallen silently and in slow motion. I know he wished the process of gluing it back together had been more effortless. Mom was pissed about the shattering, and she resented giving up her glue to the project. I’m sorry about that, but I love the broken lines; they are proof that the vase has been a part of our lives. Honestly, the vase would never have been complete in the first place had I not chosen to breathe that day.
I’m so tired. I keep putting things in closets and closing doors; I keep sweeping the dust under the rugs. I fix the girls’ hair and iron their dresses, then, as soon as I turn around, one of them has pulled out the pins or crumpled the hem of her dress. I see that someone has opened a door and spilled the contents of the closet, and someone else just walked into the kitchen and spilled some milk. And that youngest child, I just can’t seem to keep her dressed at all. I organize and tidy, close and seal, arrange and polish, but things are still a mess. I just want everyone to get along. Please don’t say that; please don’t do that. The photographer is coming today. Everyone, please, just sit still and smile pretty! I’m really looking forward to having a nice picture to hang on the wall.
I am so damn fortunate! My parents and siblings and I, we didn’t have a pot to piss in, but we sure had fun with each other. And you know, you’re never really alone in life – you are born into a family, and you die out of a family. Children are the greatest gift of all. My parents had a lot of them; and I’ve been blessed with three precious girls. Hey, what’s for dinner? I hope it’s not a bunch of green shit.
We are a fragmented unity. We are broken and we are fixed. Though the parts are not smooth, the pieces don’t all fit together quite perfectly, and our whole is not seamless, we are a complete work. Like Picasso’s paintings, we are grotesque; and we are priceless.