A fifth-grade bully, a blossoming romance, a late-night crash
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Maureen Stanton’s first personal essay was published in The Sun in 1991. In the three decades since she has published two books, most recently Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood. She lives, writes, and swims in Maine.
Everything new disappears, within and without. Alzheimer’s disease is eroding her hippocampus. . . . She has what the neurologist calls “rapid forgetting,” so she lives in a state of evanescence; nothing holds.
The sound of air expanding in my chest cavity and then being forced past the catgut of my vocal cords — that’s the sound my mother heard. It was a frightening, ugly sound, but the grief was pure and clean. Against the thickness of it, the viscosity, my mother would segue from soothing words into stories.
“Murine, is that you?” they’d call from behind the six-foot stockade fence that separated my yard from theirs. I’d come around the fence and see Herbert smiling and Wilda holding a plant. Wilda did most of the talking.
I had known all week that Keith would die that weekend. I knew he wanted me there when he died, not at work, or waiting at a red light, or picking up bread or milk, or waiting in line at the bank. He waited for me.