Writing Comes To Be
Snow was falling. We’d just picked up Mama at St. Theresa’s retirement center to drive to Perkins for her weekly fix of pancakes topped with an egg. She sat in the back. Already her mind was failing, though we didn’t want to admit it. All of us, most of all Mama herself, had been through so much in the past few years: Dad’s death, her stroke and subsequent brain surgery, a year of rehabilitation, and now this new apartment in a strange city far from her home town. We wanted, needed her near us. What she wanted and needed we really didn’t know. But each of these trips to visit her hinted of more loss to come.
We watched the new snow cover an autumn that had turned dull. The more sparkle the better when it comes to denial.
Suddenly, from the back seat, Mama’s voice. “Did I ever tell you about the time Dad took the ice pick after my mother? I screamed and yelled, and I think she would have killed him if I hadn’t pulled at her dress, bawling like a baby and crying NO! I was only a kid.”
“What?” I turned in the seat. “When was that?”
She looked into my eyes like she’d never seen me before. “Oh!” She was startled. Maybe she hadn’t realized she spoke out loud. “You forget I said that. Never speak ill of the dead.”
“The generations should know the family secrets.” I said as though I knew everything.
“No.” She replied. “They shouldn’t.”
It is from such fragments and the spaces into which they fall that my writing takes form and comes to be.