Intoxicated, I marvel in her plan, and in my mind I shout: My God, this is so clever! So deceitful! This costume, I think, is so much fun! Designed for the pleasure, so to speak, of a blind man... Ha! What does he know! That damn blessing may yet be mine, after all.
In my excitement I stumble across a thought, which is so outlandish that immediately, it makes me sober up. “What if he suspects something,” I ask, in a whisper. I hate to admit it, but it is not love for my father, nor respect for his age, that drive me to such hesitation. Rather, it is fear: The fear to be found out.
She lowers her eyes, thinking intensely, searching for an answer.
So I press on: “What if he touches me? He will guess, perhaps, that I am not the son I pretend to be. And so, instead of a blessing, I will end up, God forbid, being cursed!”
What can she say, I wonder. True, my mother is close to me. We could always think alike. But for the life of me, I cannot understand her right now. She is the mother of twins, so in my mind, she should love us both, in fairly equal measures. In the years to come I would often wonder: Why would a woman do this, why would she pit one son against another?
From the time of her wedding it took her, I am told, twenty years to conceive us. Twenty years of trying, desperately, to become pregnant, because in this place, and for this tribe, of what value is a childless woman?
So for a long time, she may have resented her social standing here. Her mind became pickled in its own juices, and she ended up being bitter inside, and so utterly devious. But I think, it is one thing for me to cheat my brother. It is another thing altogether, for her to do it to her son.
After a while, she stirs. Her hand hangs, for a moment, in midair, a motion designed to reach out to me, and hug me, perhaps, in her own manner. Yet I can see that it is only herself, in the end, that she embraces. “On me your sin,” she smiles sweetly, placing a hand on her breast, where the heart can be found. “Let your curse be on me.”
Yankle in A Favorite Son
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