It started with a blog post over at Macdougal Street Baby which I
read admire everyday. Thank you, MSB, I loved reading about your mother and that letter. My god, that letter.
Then I picked up the mail and there was The New Yorker, like it is most Fridays, hidden amidst the stack of otherwise useless catalogues. On the cover, 2 pairs of shoes. I thought instantly: My shoes and my mother’s shoes.
That’s how my mind is working this week / last week / dear god next week, because next week my mother will be dead 9 years and it’s all I can think about. I’ve been flipping through old photos of places we lived while I was growing up, and I keep going back to this one. It wasn’t quite this dilapidated when Mom and I lived here 30+ years ago, but close. I remember the white, peeling paint. The close trees. The broken down porch we couldn’t sit on because it was falling down. We lived here 2 years (which was a long time for us) while I was in 7th and 8th grades. It was the last place we would live by ourselves, the last place where it was just the 2 of us. The next thing I knew Mom got married, I became a teenager and started high school, and that was that. She with her new life, me with mine.
Now I can’t stop looking at this picture.
The New Yorker sideswipe doesn’t end with those 2 pairs of shoes. That would be too easy. Meghan O’Rourke has a heartbreaking story about her mother’s death on page 32. I couldn’t have found this story at a more perfect time. Thank you, Meghan.