witty-remark's Diaryland Diary

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I am my mother's daughter. I am my father's ghost.

Here, my mother reveals herself to me like credits rolling at the end of a film.
An actor's name corresponding to its character.

All of her sides lined up like criminals with their back pressed against the wall. I point an accusatory finger through the two-way mirror.
My reflection super-imposed with hers.

On the drive home from the airport, I reach for her purse. Something small poking through a flap catches my eyes.

"You smoke again." I sigh without the decency to embed a question mark.

She nods. "Don't start with me..." She grips the steering wheel, forcing a smile. A defeated grin sinking down like the corners of her eyes. Her features slipping into a frown.

The darkness closes in on us like a shrinking ribcage. We pulsate through it with a steady throb.

Thud-thud. Thud-thud.

Gravel crunches beneath our tires; the perfect soundtrack to my nostalgia. The passenger's window transforms to a small tv screen that flickers with my memories. There's no remote to change the channel. There's no other channel to change to.
My back presses into the seat and I swim through my past.

There she is. Raven haired and beautiful. Hopeful and bright. Angry, as well. Always temperamental. She fixes our breakfast. She slaps our face.
I wince at this recollection.
She strokes our hair and tucks us in.

There she is again. Does she know he cheats? Has he cheated yet? The memory folds up like an origami crane. A simple shape alters to something complex before my very eyes.

Oh, that's us. At the airport. I don't know what my face looks like, but it doesn't hold the resolute dissatisfaction of my brother's.
What's Canada? Why are we leaving England? Why isn't dad coming? Why-..before I ask another question, I lose myself in the hypnotic trance of the revolving suitcase carousel--a hypnosis I suspect I still haven't fully woken from to this day.


His voice becomes nothing more than a faint crackling on the other end of heated conversations.
"...two kids on my own!Do whatever you like with her! I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS LIFE"
Stretched across the floor with my stomach to the carpet, I prop myself up on my elbows. She sits on the kitchen counter with the phone cord wrapped around her fingers. She looks refined but out of place.Cinderella without an invitation to the ball.
A resentment stirs within me. Stop it I think, he would come back if you didn't say those things to him.
"Do whatever you like with her!"
The phrase rings in my ears the way a silver marble reverberates off the flaps of a pinball machine.
Who was her? I didn't understand. Besides, didn't my mother want my father back? Suddenly, a thought strikes my heart. If she was so mean to him,would he think I was this mean as well? Would my father think "I DIDN'T ASK FOR A LIFE LIKE THIS" Well, I didn't, but I certainly wouldn't want him to know that. Not if it meant he'd come back.

In the car again, I shift uncomfortably in my seat, sheepishly shaking my head at the recollection of my less than sympathetic ways.

An easy silence circulates between us and we breath it in like the smell of pancakes on a Sunday morning.

I clear my throat. "Did you think you'd be...here...ten years ago?"

The gravel sputters under our car drawing back that familiar noise of my father's voice on the telephone. A spirit that doesn't care enough to haunt its home.
I contend he thinks of us as a former life.
Psychics read your palms and tell you you were Cleopatra. That you were a prince. That you were noble, wise and good.
If he stretched his hand, is he good enough at playing dead that they would instead follow the lines and say "you were...a husband...a father..."

My mother draws in a long breath. " Did I think I'd be here?" Her eyes seem vacant. "Well" she starts, "I didn't ask for this life" she whispers with a sigh of resignation.

1:39 a.m. - Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010

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