When I was sixteen years old, I saw Mother ride an escalator in an upscale Honolulu department store, naked. She was mad at the store for not making a gold necklace with the letters F-U-C-K to dangle across her chest. Off came her clothes and down the escalator, jiggling and giggling, and then back peddling, jiggling and giggling. Carrying on a naked dance for all to see, not leaving the escalator. If the store wasn’t going to make her necklace then they certainly were going to be fucked when she was through with them.
It was not until I was home that evening and saw the pain in my dad’s eyes that I decided for sure: I will never be anything like my naked mother. The hurt in Dad’s eyes was more painful than the agony I felt watching my mother naked to the world. Dad deserved better. If she wasn’t going to be the idealized woman in our family than it was up to me.
This incident wasn’t the first time I realized my mother was insane, crazy, mad as a hatter, uncontrollable, and narcissistic. But it was the first time she took her act to the streets. To the outside world, beyond our closed doors. When I was ten, the doctor said that she was sick in the head. Okay. If she was sick, she certainly could get better. Right?
Well, six years later, I watch her naked on the escalator enjoying herself. To her it was all a game. As in Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, my mother was playing “Get the Guest”. However, her version was “Get the Management”.
I will never be anything like my naked mother!