Do you ever have random memories pop into your head? she asked.
His smile was a response, she knows he does not. Her question was not a real inquiry anyway but, rather, a polite intro to her own reverie.
“I was remembering a very hot August Sunday afternoon. I was about 9, out on the small porch on my grandparents’ apartment in Revere, Massachusetts.
The small portable radio is at my side and I am laying on a thin bath towel. on top of the splintery wood floor. When I look up the sky is fragmented into uneven bits by a criscross of wires that look like they have been there as long as the sky, but that couldn’t be.
‘Love is higher than a mountain, love is thicker than water . . . heaven’s angel, devil’s daughter.’ (Two separate women? two sides of the same woman?) Do I never hear that song anymore because it is so awful, or because i have fabricated it?
I feel like the big girls, my cousins who sun themselves by their outdoor pool, who Drink Soda and Talk About Boys. I like to pretend I am becoming indoctrinated and try to ignore niggling questions like “How do they lie there uncomplaining and baking for hours at a time like glossy game hens?” and “Does anyone actually find this fun or is this the modern day Emperor’s New Clothes?”
I am bored but I don’t have the energy to get up for a long time. The sun erased my will. Eventually I do go inside, away from the too-intense sunshine and too-friendly hornets.
My mother begins, ‘Don’t let the screen door…’
I understand why the older ladies start wearing shawls. Once you are marginalized, no-one gives you their heat. No-one wants to touch you any longer.
He loved her for her quirks. The way her sounds of pleasure were small questions (“Oh? Oh?”). But mostly, for the things she was not.
She looked at the flags and wreaths adorning the gravestones with a grimace – the popularity contest doesn’t even end with death!