I look in the mirror at my unbrushed gray hair. The deep wrinkles that sank in overnight, tunneling.
As a girl, I gorged on mulberries that grew in our yard, ruining so many dresses that my mother beat me. Every year she threatened to chop those bushes down, but once I woke in the night and spied her outside, plucking berry after berry, dripping juice on her nightdress that glowed white in the moonlight.
Before I wake up, I’m in the middle of telling you something. I want you to fix the toilet, rake the yard, paint the shed. In my dream, I’m running around after you because we’re putting the house on the market. Today. Or, so I think. And the new family will want everything to be perfect. In my dream, Leo, we’re almost out of time.
She still hasn’t cried. Not really. She has tried, of course, especially at the funeral when it was expected. But when she isn’t angry, she is a hollowed-out shell that doesn’t sleep or eat, doesn’t understand or remember how to do either, as if they are theoretical concepts. The smell of food makes her sick.
Your mother’s tight-lipped, anxious expression says that you have let her down. You weren’t the only one who had big dreams for yourself. Well, she’s let you down, too, and you haven’t forgiven her yet.
Lena and I have our routine down now. We are blobs of color bouncing and dancing in a lava lamp. We are in space, weightless, floating, floating up. We are white light and double rainbows. When I watch her drink from my body I wonder if this is how the universe began.
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