It’s Mother’s Day and I want to write about how my mother was a charismatic, extremely complicated woman, but I don’t know where to start. She was beautiful and vain, full of bright laughter and dark secrets. She swam like a fish and swore like a sailor. She cooked an amazing eggplant Parmesan, but boiled asparagus to its death. In spurts of generosity, she’d give chotchkies to friends, but grew angry when you touched her belongings because they were hers and nobody else’s. She lived mostly in her bedroom the last years of her life, surrounded by Beatles biographies, her ashtray full of spent cigarettes, The Sound of Music on DVD. She typed over 100 words a minute, but never figured out how to use a computer. She kept endless lists of people and places I remember and don’t remember her talking about when she was alive. I keep lists too, and finding the ones from my mother makes me think, Why didn’t I know this about her before? On wide-ruled paper, in black ink, she tells me a memory: I remember the time me and Ruthie went to the DQ to meet Freddie, barefoot in the rain.
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