I take Mother’s picture to the dinner table every night. She smiles, still happy. I speak of my sister Nancy and Dad. Nancy’s writing. My mastering a Tchaikovsky waltz.
She doesn’t talk back. That’s all right.
Nancy smiles, quivering. Dad absorbs himself in nightly wine.
One evening, Dad slams his glass against the wall.
“Stop it.” Voice cracks. “She’s made her fucking choice.”
I make excuses, but they ring hollow. Unhappy, needed something else. She loves us still.
She hasn’t called. Written.
I smash the picture, tears and weight released. I stomp, cry, tears expanding. Mother looks up, smile shattered.