Growing up, I fought a lot with my mother.
She cared too much.
She loved me so much.
We spent a lot of time together.
Talking and talking.
Sometimes all day.
Sometimes all night.
Neither of us could sleep.
In the kitchen, at nine years old, I asked her again and again to list
all the different countries she had traveled to in her former life.
Again and again, she answered, Russia, China, Singapore, Indonesia,
Australia, and the list went on, because, at twenty-one, she had been
the youngest person in history to visit every country in the world.
This had been reported in a local newspaper at the time.
I was growing up lonely, getting lonelier, and my mother noticed.
She is not to blame.
Everyone always wants to blame their mother.
Everyone always wants to know where the bodies are buried.
Everyone always wants to bury their mother.
My mother shared so much important information with me.
She told me that when old people start eating junk food, it’s because
they realize time is running out.
She told me that people—-people all over the world—-run out of time.
She told me to start thinking about the things I wanted to do in life,
beginning right now.
She told me what it feels like to cut a psychiatric hospital bracelet
off of your wrist at seventeen.
(It feels sexual.)
She told me that fathers try hard to respect other men.
She told me that women don't like men on top of them.
“Just imagine that,” she once said to him, “your father on top of me.”
She told me that none of us are safe.
That evil lurks everywhere.
All the time.
She told me about Ronald Reagan.
She mythologized and demonized Reagan.
She called Reagan a fascist.
A fucking fascist.
She said Reagan had been just as bad as Hitler.
She told me about a summer party she once attended in the Hamptons, at
the height of the Reagan eighties.
Some frat boys were freebasing cocaine on the beach.
They were trying something new.
One of those boys was my father.
“Wow,” she commented to a friend at the time, pointing at them, “Take a
look at the chemical warfare over there—-it’s so pathetic.”
“I love you,” my mother once said to me, when I was small, “I love you
so much…. I’m in love with you.”
She used to tell me I was her best creation.
A work of art.