Day 32 – carpet

Friday, October 2, 2009
Day 32
1:51 am – 3:07 am


Jennifer had that typical kind
of healthy relationship
with her brother
I can’t remember his name anymore
it’s been too long, I suppose

Her entire family, in fact
seemed to have that television-like
quality to their existence
whole family
whole being, I guess

She would tell me
they talked about everything
And her brother was nice
to boyfriends while being the right
amount of over-protective, of course

Their family did things together
regular things
like go in to each others rooms
and sit and hang out

Her mom took all of us to Beverly Hills
to get matching clothes
I didn’t think it was at all odd
since everyone knew that they were rich and
I wore everyone’s hand-me-downs

They even bought me my one and only
Cabbage Patch Kid
For, how could I only have one when
Jennifer and her big brother each had
a collection of well over 20, or so

Jenny cried only once
during the tenure of my witness
to their siblinghood
They were rough-housing and she cried
but it was no big deal, I gathered

He told her to stop crying
That her nail would grow back
Their mom could take her
to get a manicure and he’d pay
It was true and not at all mean-spirited

This is when it hit me, though,
like the smell of their house
That I never got used to it
despite the umpteen times
I was there for dinner or sleepovers

That we were not allowed to play in the
front room because their father
vacuumed the carpet in to a fan-shape
pattern of beveled glass to match
the formality of this room

That there was a fancy, old-fashioned,
working phone in the formal
living room they didn’t use
That they had an extra room called
a formal living room

That my only new clothes were from them
and they all matched Jennifer’s
That she never came to my house
for dinner or sleepovers
That they had about 50 Cabbage Patch Kids

That they were always nice enough
to me went a very long way
even past the reverence for their own
impersonations of Long Duck Dong
from everyone’s favorite movie at the time

Somewhere between her broken nail
and the smell of the carpet I stepped on
when no one was looking
I longed for the day to pass
so I could go back home

I was unsure whether they were
any more or less dysfunctional
I hoped their family might be just like ours
Totally different,
Behind closed doors

But I longed to play in my own room
away from my brother
who talked a lot out loud
but never much to me
and it was okay even if it wasn’t okay

I could go through
the big Hefty bags
full of the neighbor’s old clothes
that were fashionable and
just fine by me

I could roll my eyes through
Mom’s observations
about what they could afford and
what we had to reuse
She was right, of course

And for all intents and purposes
some moments
were better served
in the mere presence of

I almost, but did not ask Dad
whether it bothered him they bought me
brand names we could never
afford to bring in to the house

I almost, but did not ask my brother
for more discussion
Or to try
being a little over

Because it mattered
and somewhat
never at

For better or worse
It served a function to know
just what was strange
and what was just

traci kato-kiriyama



About traciakemi

traci akemi kato-kiriyama - inter/multi-disciplinary theatre/performance artist, arts educator, cultural worker, community organizer. Tuesday Night Project; theatre, performance, writing, and teaching projects with many organizations and artists including: zero 3; Edge of The World for Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia and the National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York; "PULL" with Kennedy Kabasares in San Francisco; Nobuko Miyamoto and Great Leap Collaboratory I; TeAda; NCRR; Oymun's 11. Playwright for "Chasing Dad - a performance of a reading about a play i'm writing" presented by Inside the Ford for the Ford's Summer Playwright series. View all posts by traciakemi

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