“Just raise your children,” my grandmother barks, “raising three boys nearly on your own is enough for now. Save the writing for later. It can wait.”
I look over to where she’s sitting in the Prius I take to pick her up most Saturdays. Her lipstick bleeds into the cracks fanning out from her mouth. She’s worn that turquoise velour shirt three days running. Her voice is raspy from the cigarettes she smoked when she was younger that she finally gave up for her second husband. I’m not sure she considers it a fair trade.
I briefly wonder what it’s like to be at the end of a life.
It’s 3am. My legs are tired from chasing after the children, eyes ache from endless articles read by phone while the TV drones in the background.
I woke to meet the blank page, where I can stand still.
From the next room, I hear his little body, heavy with sleep, roll from one side of the bed to the other as he heaves a waking sigh. I shift to the backspace key instead of the mouse because the click is quieter. I wait, silent, thinking maybe he’ll settle back down. He doesn’t. I throw a glance at my emptied bed as a text comes through on my phone: “Alive. Crazy night. Three cases; didn’t sleep. Loving you.”
This was our choice: he would work around the clock; I would parent the same. But even a life chosen can weigh heavily. And foresight is only as good as the distance you can see ahead.
Save. Exit. Good morning.
A recent closet purge uncovers early journals—one in pale purples and teals with its tiny silver lock that my father brought home from Israel. Another—smaller, magenta with “My Diary” in gold lettering—details an eleven-year-old’s heartbreak at overnight camp.
Tiny, tightly folded papers in yellows and whites—passed in French class or high school hallways—are carefully stowed in a rusting tin box with a black handle. Next to it sits the “novel” I penned as a preteen, handwritten in fading pencil on college ruled loose leaf pages, bound with fraying yellow yarn.
I’ve been writing all my life. Continue Reading…