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3.

Ive lost her. Im losing them all.

Its there in my mothers album opposite a recipe for blackberry cake, tiny migraine-letters in black ink, the lines crossed and recrossed as if even the code in which she writes is not enough to hide the fear she hides from us and from herself.

She looked at me today as if I wasnt there. Wanted so hard to take her in my arms but shes grown so much and Im afraid of her eyes. Only R-C keeps a little softness but Fra doesnt feel like my child any more. My mistake was thinking children were like trees. Prune them back and theyll grow sweeter. Not true. Not true. When Y. died I made them grow up too fast. Didnt want them to be children. Now theyre harder than me. Like animals. My fault. I made them that way. Oranges in the house again tonight, but no one smells them but me. My head aches. If only she could put her hand on my forehead. No more pills. The German says he can get some more, but he doesnt come. Boise. Late home tonight. Like me, divided.

It sounds like gibberish, but her voice in my mind is suddenly very clear. It is sharp and plaintive, the voice of a woman hanging on to her sanity with every bit of her strength.

The German says he can get some more, but he doesnt come.

Oh, Mother. If only Id known.


| Five Quarters of the Orange | c



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