Todo Sobre Mi Madre / by Nate Westheimer

6/6/04

There’s thunder in Madrid tonight, and each crack brings me to other times and places. The rain started while I was standing in the kitchen, doing the weekend’s dishes, and I, for a moment, was home in Ohio, washing the dishes, staring out into what would have been the rain spotted pond in front of me. Instead, I looked at the wall of a bald kitchen where the least has been done to make our Calle Puebla apartment home, where a filthy stuffed parrot that once talked now hangs silently. When I am home, I do hope that the cracks and flashes and patters of summer storms bless the farm, as it is one of my favorite things of being on home during the summertime. And home is in 16 days.

I just ran outside to our little porch and brought in my already dry towel, and the rain is warm; it’s not hard to believe: Madrid has already brought scorching afternoons and nights from which I awake with a back and chest of sweat. Knowing tonight will be spent lying awake in bed if I don’t do something – the heat fueling the engines of thought that resist my body’s need for sleep –, I put on Todo Sobre Mi Madre, an instant-epic that capitulated Pedro Almodóvar to international fame and national heroism in 1999 (although his Oscar was won in 2000).

I got my bed ready and then set up the “TV” – my laptop – on top of my saxophone case so that I could lie back in bed and enjoy the film and ignore the stuffy night heat. The rain had stopped, the thunder continues, I put the movie on play, and watched a film that leaves the heart parched in sorrow. The outside storm subtlety saturated the storyline with more angst that the movie provided, which was already too much for boy trying to fall asleep, a boy who thinks too much already. When the pain had stopped – when the movie had stopped – Almodóvar dedicated the movie to all the women actors and all the mothers in the world. I felt it was sad that mothers would have to be honored so – as pain is not the only thing that makes them grand.

As the next movie ends in my life – Volume Whatever –, as I head home, I too would dedicate my story to my mother; not for the pain, but for the joy, for the roots, for the heavy rock that serves as a steady foundation, a rock from which there is a spring that carries me through the fall and winter and back to a spring when I was born; and on to summer, which brings the rains, that bless the farm, and fill my heart.