I miss you. Well, no. I miss a fantasy that I keep of you. I miss a loving family. I miss the moments when that’s what I felt. I miss that glint in your eyes, when they weren’t rummy or enraged, when they loved me, when you were proud of me.

I miss the moments when you played with me, and there were no head games. I miss the times when I wasn’t afraid. I miss carefree moments.

Now that John and Dad are dead, I can miss them safely, without conflicting feelings. I can forget the bad things and just miss the idea of them, plastered with glimpses of their happy features. John as a little boy missing his two front teeth in a picture on a sunny day. Dad when I was little enough to climb him like a tree.

Mom, it’s hardest with you. It feels like it would be so much easier to miss you that way, and you’re still alive.

Oddly, I still miss my dream of you, which makes it that much harder to deal with your real self.

You aren’t happy.

Every thought of you reminds me of years of sorrow, grief, and fear. I watched you die my whole life, and I don’t get the satisfaction of you being dead.

Now, you’re alive, and I try. G-d, I try.

I’m glad Chloe has you, though I’m not sure what she has in you. I imagine it to be what I had with your mom. Decrepit gothic happiness. She is brilliant; she must pick up on the undercurrents.

Not that it makes a difference, not that it could, but I try.

I admit that I haven’t forgiven you. I want to, and I really don’t.

Children should be allowed to be children. The crueler parts of life will reach them plenty soon. Why shouldn’t we shield them while we can?

And you. So much grief and self-loathing. Too much to be around. It’s like staring at my open broken heart to talk to you, to let you kiss me. Hate is such a permanent, damning word. I won’t admit to hate. I can’t. It would erode my fantasy, my dream of redemption.

Still, you live. And while you live, maybe someday, enough time will have elapsed, and I won’t have to pretend. Maybe I’ll find in you the mother I’ve wished you were.

By the way, as though you didn’t know, it hurts to feel this way about you. I don’t feel like a fair person. Of course, I also do feel like a fair person. I feel vindicated, more than fair. I won’t go so far as to claim I stand on high ground, but I’m aware of where I stand.

Are you capable of knowing? Do you really know, and the knowledge is too much to accept?

You know, it would be so much easier if you would just apologize and mean it.

Jesus. The you in my head is more maddening than you are. You really don’t know better. Bitterly, the you in my head is rational and, consequently, intentionally horrible.

Okay, then. Enough.

For now, I will work to put you aside, and I will miss Dad and John.


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