Here’s the thing about our mother. She was the kind of woman who never wanted children and had them anyway because that seemed like the path of least resistance. Once we could clothe and feed ourselves, or at least, pour a bowl of cereal without creating a disaster in the kitchen, she started pulling away, more and more, until the only thing left of her in the house was the stale scent of her lilac perfume. It had been so long since we had last seen or heard from her, our mother was mostly a strange figment of our imaginations. If it weren’t for J, I would think our mother never existed at all or that we, too, were figments of someone’s imagination.
Even as my coworkers slowly streamed back into the building, I stood there on the sidewalk, the steel and glass towering over me. When Graham tried to pull me toward the door, I shrugged out of his grip and told him to leave me the fuck alone.
I quickly texted J.
I shoved my hands in my pockets as I waited. I was cold down into my bones. That’s how it is with my mother. She takes the warmth away from everything. I had an inexplicable desire, a need really to talk to Michaela, this stranger I only knew through ink scratched into a piece of paper. I thought maybe Michaela might make me warm again.
Here’s the thing about mothers. You can survive their leaving. It’s how they come back that breaks you.
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