|what’s the sound of two edies talking?|
Some people should not wear horizontal stripes. Or skirts. Or sleeveless tops. That color makes your skin look sallow. And that one leeches all the color out. That’s what you’re wearing? Really? That? Don’t you have a mirror at home? A full-length mirror? Short women can’t wear capri pants, but dressing all in one color is slimming. So are long skirts, or pencil skirts, or long pants. A hip belt? Really? You know that brings attention to your middle, is that really where you want people to be looking, because it’s not your best feature. Your biggest, yes, but not your best.
That’s the voice in my head when I’m looking at your on the subway, or on the street. It’s the voice in my head when I pass my reflection in a store window, or look at myself in the mirror. It’s the voice in my head the minute I open my closet door.
How awful to grow up with that voice in your head all the time, but it’s in mine because it’s in hers and someone put it there. Maybe her Aunt Fran, the one who introduced Big Edie (before she was Big Edie, when she was still just “Lainie”) as “my niece who used to be beautiful.” Fran wasn’t exactly a beauty, but she was a hottie.
Children believe the things they’re told about themselves, they believe you when you tell them what that world is really like–your words weave themselves into the warp and weft of the cloth they’re cut from and even after you’ve long since turned to dust and dirt the pattern you wove remains.
Scene: Looking through photos I’ve taken of Big Edie, me, the cats, everything.
Big Edie: Can I tell you something?
Me: Can I stop you? Seriously, is there anyway to stop you?
Big Edie: Yes. No….No, I have to be honest. That shirt you’re wearing? I hate it.
Me: Thanks, Ma.
Big Edie: Really, it’s terrible, I don’t like it. I hate it. I tell you when you look good; this doesn’t look good. I hate that shirt. I’m just being honest.
Me: That’s not honest, Ma, that’s just mean. No one asked you what you thought.
Big Edie: Well, I hate it.
Be careful what you say to children, they repeat what they hear.
Big Edie: points to a photo: Oh I like that picture, I look good there.
Me: That’s me, ma.
Big Edie: Oh. This one, then? We both look good. It’s a selfie of the Edies. One with a little me, and lots of her.
Me: Yeah, we look good.
Big Edie: But honestly, I hate that shirt, you should get rid of it. What? I have to be honest. You want me to be honest, don’t you?
I want to say, No Ma. I don’t. That’s what I’d say if I was being perfectly honest.