dave and lex chronology:
1 this shit is bananas 2 lucky 3 the chicken dance 4 listen close
lex swept her right hand along the white countertop, clutching her favorite oversized mug in her left. it was noon on a monday, the first day of her school's spring break, and with dave at the office she had the apartment to herself. she loved her job and her students, but was always grateful for a school break that allowed her some creative alone time. lex had started to explore her artistic side many years ago and though time did not always allow for her own projects, she still dreamed of that time in the distant future when she could live the life of an artist. now, though, she had to settle for setting up at her easel whenever time allowed, which was not often enough.
sipping her coffee, lex tried to look at the morning's work objectively, something she was never quite good at. glancing over what she had intended to be an abstract painting, she could only see her mother. that happened some days; without warning her mother would be the only thing on her mind. any woman on the city street would look like her, any scent would be a reminder. pacing across the kitchen, as she always did when deep in thought, lex allowed herself the thoughts she so often suppressed and imagined her mother was there.
she missed her more every day. when she was younger, everyone said it would become easier with time. fucking liars, lex thought. it never got any easier. some days the pain took a back seat, sure, but some days dave had to drag lex from the bed and nearly kick her out the door so that she would make it to school on time. every single day, though, she searched for places to wish - a clock reading 11:11, a stray eyelash, a face-up penny - and always wished for the same thing - her mother's embrace, her warm hands to push lex's hair back, her melodic voice to whisper "i love you, my darling" just one more time.
when her habitual pacing became tiresome and the tears threatened to escape, lex topped off her coffee and walked into the spare room. it was a miracle that on their salaries dave and lex were able to afford this beautiful, spacious two-bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood in new york city, but sometimes you just get lucky. lex always thought their home was a sort of consolation prize from the universe, after all the other shit it had put her through throughout her life. the spare room, equipped with a futon for the infrequent guest, was more of an office and storage space, where lex kept her painting supplies, her desk, and her computer.
lex took a deep breath, inhaling the mixture of scents in the room. lavender, from the relaxation candles she had lined up along her desk. turpentine, from the box of paints on the floor beneath it. fresh, clean cotton from the just-washed blanket draped on the futon. hazelnut and coffee from the mug in her hand. she set the coffee down on the desk and pulled a piece of stationary from the top drawer. she sifted through the jar of pens until she found her favorite one - nothing special, really, it was one she had accidentally stolen from the bank. but the shade of blue it released was just perfect, and it would always glide so easily across the page. she wrote.
it always feels so weird to start a letter to you like that. but it feels awkward to begin a personal letter with anything but "dear," and strange to call you anything other than "mommy," even at 26. when i talk about you to people, i usually say "my mother," but i could never address you like that. "mother" just feels so distant, cold, impersonal. and "mommy" makes me sound like i'm still 8 years old. but in a way, when it comes to you, i am. i'll always be your child, even though someone, somewhere thought eight years was enough time for me to have you. it wasn't.
i'm having a rough few weeks. dave and i got into a huge fight the other day, and though we patched everything up relatively quickly, i still feel terrible. he's so great to me, mom. he listens when i talk, he shows up for me when i need him to, he doesn't judge me for my bizarre moods, he supports my art and my work, he loves macy and is always so welcoming to her and my friends, he kisses me just because, and comes home with roses on random thursdays. i'll never understand how i got so lucky, how someone like him could love someone like me as much as he does. and that's why i feel terrible. he only wants to love me, all of me, and all he asks is that i give him my whole self. but i can't, and i'm sick with guilt over it.
i wish you were here to make me a cup of cocoa and dry my tears and tell me what to do. what do i do? i've kept him in the dark about our family for so long, revealing only minor details on a need-to-know basis, and he's fine with that. but is that fair? sometimes i think he knows all he needs to know about me, and that everything else is just unnecessary. because it is, isn't it!? maybe it's not a big deal at all, and he never needs to know about what happened. but if it's not a big deal at all, i should have no problem telling him, right? i'm just afraid. macy told mark, and they are completely fine. but she's clearly more well adjusted than i am. i got the crazy. (bad joke, sorry.)
i was thinking about asking uncle eric what he thinks i should do when i go see him tomorrow, but i'm pretty sure i know what he'll say: not much about anything. we'll talk about you, like we always do, and about how much we miss you. we'll play cards for twenty minutes in silence. we'll eat the fettuccine alfredo i'll bring and after we're done, we'll talk about the week's weather forecast and i'll go home.
i miss you.
where are you, mom? are you happy there? do you miss me? do you think about me? do you feel it when i think about you?
with all the love i have, always,
satisfied with her letter, lex folded it three times and stuffed it into an envelope. she sipped her coffee and leaned back in her chair, closed her eyes, and collected herself. finally, she rose from the desk, crossed the room to the closet, and pulled a large green and white photo box from the top shelf. smacking a kiss on the newest letter, she tucked it into the box with the rest of her letters to her mother, the photographs, the report cards, the photocopies of documents marking every significant event in her life. all the things she wanted her mother to have. she thought for a moment, like she always did with the box in her hands, of how she would one day deliver the package. her plan was still unclear.
lex placed the box back into it's home on the shelf, grabbed her mug, and left the room, closing the door tightly behind her. she topped off her coffee once again and shut off the maker. a glance at the clock told her her favorite show was about to begin, so she rescued her cell phone from her purse and snuggled into her comfy chair with her baby blanket. she sent a quick text message to dave (hope you're havin a good day babe. xoxo) switched on the tv, and tried to relax.