Girl Head Pendulous
Vanessa González Soto
For Mama and mi Tio
“Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities”
An account of a young 24 year old Latina releasing herself from the chains of the absent father and of his crude world and in her search for healing.
ON HER FRONT DOOR ON HER STOOP – EARLY AFTERNOON
She shuffled impatiently through the pockets of her black hoodie.
VAN, (24 yr old)
ON A LIVE WIRE UP OFF THE STREET…
(She stands licking her lips on the traffic intersection)
She pulls out her inhaler. She thinks what a real horror show it would be if she misplaced it. The dependency on it cripples her, should she find herself losing it.
FADE TO BLACK.
INT. BIXBY PARK, LONG BEACH, CA – CAR RIDE – 6:00 PM
She struggles a bit to harness her Siberian Husky. She manages and takes his leash. She walks to her alley heavy-headed where her white Toyota is parked.
(key in the ignition)
She glances through her rear-view mirror until her dog settles at his favorite spot next to the window where she had left a small opening for him to entertain throughout the ride.An air of anticipation is felt but a memory, maybe it is more like a sensation, maybe melancholy takes hold.
(it jolts her suddenly)
Whatever it is, the sensation is familiiar, persistent, unwanted.
The air through the car windows fills her lungs again resuscitating her
(she twists the volume knob and RADIOHEAD’S “Karma Police” plays)
INT. SKATE-PARK- ON THE CURBSIDE
When the sky cannot decide to be mesmerizing blue or dazzling gold. The dueling of the skies above her at six in the evening.
(She continues to sit at the curbside scrolling through her playlist)
In controlled symmetry, she unwinds her earphones.
(one is busted!)
She gets too caught up with deciding what album to play.
She scrolls, scrolls, and scrolls.
(she begins to mouth and bob her head to FRANK OCEAN’S “Nights” from the BLOND album)
She has been sitting on the hard concrete for minutes now a creeping numbness takes hold of her. Feet first, her legs solidify on the curb.
She remains there. She eyes the ocean, the sky, the people who now have faded in the in-between. You know when the earth’s natural light and warm glow becomes replaced with the artificial.
(it is approximately 8:00 PM, light posts light up)
She suddenly finds it hard to breathe….
Suddenly relevant, one puff, three puffs for the fear,
Girl head pendulous over the cupboard,
suffocation interruption bursts ignite the oxygen glitches.
She don’t connect.
She tucks her feelings into a ziplock in the back pockets of her jeans,
like little necessary Gods concealed,
Girl head pendulous over her knees, holds agitation of head
She don’t give courtesy to the concrete,
hands remain at distance,
eyelids encapsulated that hang low, how low, why low?
In the certain demise of her lungs as
she kicks away at the eyes below her but the eyes dead ahead subdue her.
She curls, she expands, as she contemplates the hanging why’s of her eyes.
Memories flick on and off like light switch.
She is in retrograde.
But she remembers God only pricks, right?
INT. HER TIO SITS ON THE CURB WITH HER- NIGHT
“A rush of blood to the head said led to your death, but see I saw the soul glitch. Do you know unhappiness? How it pains?”
“It lies simple and heavily on the soul, mija.”
“Do you think of her often, sometimes, every day?”
“See the heartache carries you to the bottle but they never understood me.”
“In how many ways did they fantasize your death at the curbside? See your friend came knocking at our door with honest words…”
“The world hurts”
“Are you with her now? Did you get love, Tio?”
he sits silently (beside her)
“I saw the soul glitch in you. Alcohol plus you plus bottle did not equal you.
(he remains silent)
“How many disdained your ways? What happened? Why did you let your head fall to the concrete?”
(She turns to find him gone)
“I miss you the most. Will I find you under the guava tree?”
(her legs lift her to her feet)
She gets into her car and drives away.
Her uncle bleeds heartache,
he reads alcoholic,
but he remains a lost confidant and sensitive in the ways she is.
VAN (cont’d) (as she drives home)
“Where is my father?
In another home or maybe in that corner restaurant by my mothers home….
Who is my father?
My father is the creased up couch with chewed up David sunflower seeds in between the cracks you know where someone has been sitting on for days, my father is me everytime I look into the mirror to the nose that demarcates me from my sister.
Why is he my father?
To realize I am composed of something else.”
(Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” poem reverberates in her mind)
“Tio, cada vez que mi padre encaja su pupila en mi pupila no pierdo mi ser de sentido.”
“Daddy, daddy you bastard I’m through!”
INT. DRIVING DOWN PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY- NIGHT
She cannot gauge her fears. She drives down familiar streets.
“I’d rather chip my pride, than lose my mind out here”
(she reassures herself)
She comes up to the corner of Wilmington Avenue and PCH, the neon Coin Laundry is lit up and she contemplates the connection…
(night ride in a contemplative mode)
She remembers driving in her mother’s 1979 orange Z-28 Chevy at thirteen and stretching her head up to the window with anticipating eyes to find her uncle exiting the Coin Laundry as he walks out with a crinkled black plastic bag concealing his most meticulous effort and the cleanest whites folded neatly in his bag. She remembers how he curled up in the passenger seat because his knees would always hit the dashboard.
(a smile came to her)
She felt a comfort to find him in the passenger seat where she could nudge the seat and he would turn and share a glorious smile.
She would continue to meet her uncle at laundromats, gas stations, and parks as the years went by in his best attire which was assembled by a white tee tucked in blue faded jeans and how his jeans were always short above his ankle exposing whiter socks than his sneakers.
(she manages a laugh)
She revelled in the simplicity of her uncle’s attire because it rendered a simple man . His washed out hat that tucked away his auburn blond hair, as mama and I
waited for him day after day,
as he trailed off
into the streets in a Bukowski crisp, free verse
and waved goodbye.
(she pulls into the Coin Laundry parking lot for a second)
In those multiple car rides
as she sat in the backseat
she came to realize how pride took form
and how pride and the bottle were synonymous to her uncle.
Far from the bottle, her uncle she thought was her confidant her equal in the matters of solitude where under the guava tree in mama’s backyard he spoke about life to her at thirteen.
INT. THE KITCHEN- NIGHT
She enters the kitchen door to find mama busy at the stove, el arroz frying and the meat boiling in a delicious aroma as she paces back and forth between the news and the meal at hand.
Everything lively and mama tuned into Univision news where matters of presidential idiocy are televised relentlessly with occasional mentions to Syria, the overload of news that never seem less morose.
“Ya dijo el Jorge Ramos…pues el Trump ya nos gano”
(her face gradually showing surrender)
(Van sits on the kitchen table and opens her notes on her iphone and begins to type something….)
“Papa, you never stand a quiet minute in the same room as me
But how you smile and laugh with the guests in your greatest disguise
Papa you ransack the refrigerator because the beans and tortillas are not sufficient for you
But how you go about your way to cook lavish meals for yourself
and bring bread for the guests!
Papa you never handle the furniture with care
Mama don’t go wasting your time to care about the tears here and there
And how you speak so lovely to others other than your daughter
Don’t no one hear your yells
Don’t no one hear the shouts
Don’t no one hear the poundings
Don’t no one else know about your other self
You don’t know how little you matter
To the family you shattered
When one terrible day it will matter to you
In all your shucking, stealing, and jiving
You scratch for that eternal itch in the
smoke that incinerates your family in your periphery
who , I, on a live wire up of the street stand in an age old clique
The standing image of the girl with daddy issues and
her head heavy, like a pendulous to the ground”
(She stops typing, and closes her phone)
INT. MAMA’S ROOM
She finds her little niche at the end of her mom’s bed where she is busy folding clothes.
“Mama can I ask you some-thing—–“
(she remembers not to ask)
Mama always found it hard to talk about her brother.
(she begins folding clothes with her)
INT. THROUGH VAN’S WINDOW PANE- THE NEXT MORNING
A familiar memory of her uncle is staged before her.
Through her window,
she sees mama sitting under the guava tree
in the beat up white plastic chair
and sees her tuning through the radio stations
until a familiar tune plays.
(a compilation of Rancheras play)
Her eyes well up seeing her mama under the guava tree.
(in deep thought)
“These daddy issues
feel fatal to my mind
but I begin to heal
under the guava tree, Tio”
(she sits next to mama)