My Mother In Her Twenty-Second Year

Summer had faded behind an early September. I stood in an unfamiliar barn, shaking cobwebs, and boxing Mom’s belongings. I’d never met the woman, but she died last week. I held up a frame and lifted my gaze before a picture, studying my Mother in her twenty-second year. A sheepish grin, leaning against a 1964 Mustang as if she hadn’t a care in the world. A light breeze pulled her ponytail. She holds in one hand a Corona beer, in the other a romance novel.

A shoulder tattoo, out of focus, is heartshaped. I hadn’t seen tattoos in other pictures. Mom’s eyes drew to the left, leaving a sparkle in her eye. A sparkle for which she wasn’t known, according to Dad. It was a sparkle for which I wasn’t known.

Maybe we’re more alike than I’d realized–more alike than I’d been led to believe.


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