In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fool Me Once.”
Not much funny going on, so I thought I would ponder a question aloud instead-
A couple of years ago I made a deal with someone about what the circumstances would need to be in order for us to have “the talk”. No, not some sexual lesson for a teenager; but two adults knowing that some things needed to be left unsaid at that point but would need to be said at some point. Well, we hit that juncture last week.
Everyone wishes they had a fly on the wall in certain situations. Hey, what is my daughter talking to her friends about that is so damn funny? Or maybe, why did they just shut up when I walked into the room? Is it something I’m wearing, something I did? We all have something to hide, even those of us who profess that they are an open book. Imperfect information. I think something is fine, you might think that it is the second most horrible thing you have ever heard.
So I wrote this letter to Patre’s mother. It fills in the blanks about what she thought was going on when we were kids, but gives more detail. I didn’t rat her out, but we agreed that at some point a few questions might need to be answered, for both of us. It was almost 12 pages of my chicken scratch detailing where we really were one evening we said we stayed after school. The truth being we just felt like having dinner together, without anyone else staring over our shoulders. It also went a little further into the last talk Patre and I had before she died. Questions I knew Kathy had, but we demanded we wait. By the time I was done writing, my brain was fighting itself about what I had just done.
I feared that without those little bits, we would reach a point where we didn’t communicate anymore. The yearly Christmas card with updates on life were about what we had left after almost 30 years. But I also knew that by writing this I was silently acknowledging that I might not get that chance on her timetable. I can’t read the future anymore, and I don’t try to look beyond tomorrow much. The response wasn’t what I had expected.
Kathy had been talking to my mother for years about how I was doing. She was the only “non-family” member to attend both my high school graduation and my college graduation. She sent me a lovely Waterman fountain pen when I finished the dissertation. An object I had only used moving forward to write letters of significance. Letters to my daughter, letter to Whitney, and those updates to Kathy every X-mas.
I’m pacing the room in my mind waiting for her to show up at my house. Her now knowing that I’m playing Russian Roulette with chemotherapy. Her insisting that she be allowed to take me for tomorrow’s treatment. My second mother storming the castles?
Her being here means that there is something she didn’t want to write down, or possibly couldn’t write down. And that worries me more than the treatments. It also means she is driving down from Massachusetts within hours of having received my letter. Years ago we agreed that seeing each other was hard, me seeing her daughter every time I looked at her. Kathy saying she saw her daughter’s smile every time she saw me.
I don’t really know why I felt like sharing any of this. It certainly doesn’t fit the topic of humor. But it’s what is occupying my brain at this moment.