And today, the piercing sound of the doorbell hits me in the chest like a wrecking ball. I open the door but there's no one there, just a letter with my mother's name on it. The envelope is torn and has lost a lot of its color, the stamps 1972 commemoratives, her name neatly handwritten in black ink.
I put it in plain site on the counter in the kitchen and watch mother carefully as she comes home: no clear reaction. Chloe, la conspiratrice, is certain, "it has to have come from the lady in black" she whispers as we sit down to eat. It fits the narrative, I'm not convinced but after dinner it's nowhere to be found and mother has escaped to her bedroom. The dense silence returns.