“It’s me, again. Just wanted to hear your voice….
“I got my hair cut yesterday. You’d like it. You can
see my face, now….
“Sean hates it. Doesn’t matter though--I thought
about what you said, and I ended it with him. You’re right--it was
never going to go anywhere….
“I’m thinking about getting a cat. Sean always hated
cats. Remember that lanky cat you brought home when I was five—Mrs.
Puff? Then you took her to get spayed, and we found out she was
really a ‘Mr. Puff.’ You said that name was horrible so we shortened
it to “Mister.” Loved that cat…. When he died, you made cinnamon
buns to cheer us up.
“I tried to make some the other day. I must have done
something wrong, though. Mine were kinda… flat. I dunno. Maybe I’ll try them again. Karen said she had your recipe, so I might check and see if I wrote it down wrong or something….
“Karen decided to go back to work. Did she tell you? She said now that the kids are all in school she doesn’t know what to do with herself all day. I guess I can’t blame her-- although I can’t imagine actually wanting to work, can you? I guess she gets that from Daddy….
“Oh, I went and saw him last weekend. He didn’t remember me, but he talked a lot about you. He said your hair smells like lavender and your eyes are like an angry ocean. He said that you both went for a walk down at the abandoned amusement park the day before, and he thinks he loves you.
“Funny, the things he remembers. But he always remembers you, Mama. He never forgets you.
My therapist says that the brain is funny that way—the things it holds onto. I guess some things just burn themselves so deep that you can never let them go. Not ever….
“Dr. Paulsen wants me to try, though—letting go. He says I need to stop calling you so much. Says it isn’t—healthy. Says that I need “closure”—whatever the hell that is.
“So if I don’t call tomorrow, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you, Mama—it doesn’t mean I’m forgetting you. I could never forget you.
“I just have to try to get better...and I am! I can make it across the room now without any help. The stupid leg still rubs me raw, but they made some adjustments to the prosthesis, and they think it’ll be better now.
“My face looks a lot better now, too. With make-up on, you can hardly see the scars.
“What a difference a year makes, huh?
“I can’t believe you’ve been gone a year, Mama.
“His trial will be starting next week—the driver. Did I tell you that it was his fifth DUI? Seriously. He destroyed the lives of five other families before ours.
“I promise to be at the courthouse everyday--for you, Mama. I am going to walk into that courtroom. No wheelchair! I don’t care if my leg hurts and my face is scarred. I am going to walk in there, look him in the eye, and show him what he did to us.
“Dr. Paulsen says I have to forgive him. Maybe I do… but not yet.
“My doctor likes the idea of my getting a cat--saidit’d be good for me to have something to care for, something to come home to…. I thought I would name her Sybil—after you.
“I better go, Mama…. I’m tired.
“I’ll call you tomorrow.”
T. Z. Wallace lives in Oklahoma, where she works on the mythical Great American Novel while juggling three kids, one husband, and a menagerie of cats. Her website is: http://terrizellerwallace.wordpress.com/