Love, like loss, doesn’t reside in memory. It doesn’t reside in words or even in story, though those come a bit closer. I know because I’ve watched a little girl grieve and love a man she has no real memory of.
My father is a skilled con man with a deft ear for music, an infectious laugh, and, for several years after my parents’ divorce, was my closest companion. Loving him was tricky, but I was all in. I wandered with him through delusions and bounced checks, choosing to believe his convoluted stories long after I knew they were lies.
My father recognized the truth before I was ready to accept it; he couldn’t leave the assisted facility without help, and he never would.
Laurie Guerin Carnal
Over the years, my sister and I have reassured one another that we are not our mom, but her voice lives in our heads. I worry about how, in the language of this culture, the word “blame” is synonymous with the word “mother.” I worry that my sister and I have become attached to the stories we rehash.
I have other memories, though, that can’t be reconciled with the soft face before me. I search Soleil’s big brown eyes as she pushes a stubborn curl back and wonder, was I as tender and unsuspecting at her age when that happened?
Minutes and hours stretched ahead of her, barely eight o’clock now. She settled onto the sofa with the baby in the crook of her arm, watched the cat watch the squirrel outside gathering the last of his nuts. The baby sighed in his sleep, sucking an invisible nipple, dreaming of milk.
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