Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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In 1986 I was the Horse Girl of St. Margaret’s, the tallest girl in sixth grade, with dark-brown hair I tossed like a mane.
Kayla and I were not friends, so when she called me out of the blue, on a blistering July morning, to ask if I wanted to join her and her dad on the lake for the day, it was like NASA calling to invite me to the moon.
My mother didn’t raise a thief, but by the time you round forty, you’re pretty much raising yourself. I scooped the package from its hiding place, then waved my free hand at the doorbell camera.
How could she tell her son that although she bathes, puts on clothes, laughs at Colbert, and has conversations with people, people don’t know. They don’t have a clue they’re talking to a bunch of scattered molecules trying to imitate a human being.
It was true what Mrs. Berry said: no one expected to see an old woman in a muscle car, a red and black Mustang convertible with a scooped hood and an engine that ran with a throaty hum.
We always went to Dancing Pins because it was cheap and we could spend all day there, easy, no complaints. We’d go when our mom was drunk and didn’t have anyone to sleep with. She brought her own vodka in a paper bag, like it wasn’t obvious.
I wondered if I had stumbled upon some universal principle: the more beautiful the illusion, the more egregious the lie.
Lovely things, the railings. When it’s raining just right — half raining, the way it so often does here — the spiderwebs spun across the rails collect mist and shine, so that the Corrib looks like it’s swathed in sequined cloth.
I understand that though it was not my choice to listen to the Jackson 5 during the procedure, I will now think of their seminal hits every time I smell isopropyl alcohol in my vicinity.
My granddaughter barely speaks. Her name is Effie, which in Greek means “well-spoken.” Maybe in Greece she would be. Names aren’t expected to match the person. If they were, we’d be named upon our death, when someone would have a stab in the dark at getting it right.