“Are the fears of our ancestors supposed to become our fears?” I asked.
“Uh…” Ming said.
“My mom was afraid of bridges. She was also claustrophobic,” I said.
I’d just asked Ming to take a picture of the varicose veins on the back of my right leg. He took the pic and showed it to me, and I was confused.
“Is that really my leg?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said.
“I mean, does it really look like that? Is that an accurate…”
“Yeah!” he said.
I was amazed by how subtle the veins looked. To my fingers, they felt bulging and weird. I guess like in my mouth, a lil bump can feel huge to my tongue. But then I look in the mirror, and it’s a tiny dot.
The reason I was afraid about my veins is that I have an ancestor who bled to death from a ruptured varicose vein. When I met some distant relatives in Carrizozo, New Mexico, my primo mentioned that lady. Well, I mentioned her, and my primo said he’d heard the story too. Maybe he also had the fears of our ancestors.
I imagine our ancestor bleeding into the earth. They lived in adobe houses.
So the fears–death-fears. I almost died from my ulcer. That was bleeding too.
Then I was telling Ming this story about a father-in-law I had, this father-in-law’s varicose veins on his legs, his feet. And how we would sit on couches in the living room, where there was a tv, and my parents-in-law would smoke cigarettes, almost chain smoke.
I smoked their cigarettes sometimes, and they were really horrible cigarettes. Bought from costco by the carton, I think.
“God, they were horrible,” I told Ming, thinking of those long, nasty, cheap cigarettes. I sound so ungrateful. These in-laws opened their home to me, fed me, loved me, and let me smoke their cigarettes. And here I complain. I’m sorry.
“I was kind of a snob about cigarettes, when I was a kid,” I said. Ming nodded. He seems ok with that.
The clouds were so pretty, yesterday.