Ever since Wednesday's eery snapshots of the past I've been living my life under multiple layers of mulberry silk. It works as armor when the skin becomes too fragile for whatever reason. I get into mother's bed when she's not at home, undress under the flowing sheets and read the opening lines from the books on her night stand:
Agnes Grey (All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut)
Alice in Wonderland (Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?')
Anna Karenina (Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way)
She pulled me away instantly the moment she saw me talking to the lady in black at the party. "I want to introduce you to some friends" she said frantically with her hand wrapped tight around my wrist, but the dark spots of wine spilled on the antique Persian carpet told another story; a bourbon-drinking ghost in the corner of my eye for the rest of the night, mother talking incoherently and high-pitched between breaths.
When we got back home she said "that one is a little bit crazy" and went straight to bed. I slept lightly next to an ivory white dress she used to wear during warm summer evenings in LA. When my father died she stopped using it, and last week I found it in the back of her closet here in New York. It still smells of daffodils and cigarette smoke, ten years later.