She was infamous for having whiskey in her coffee cup while teaching. Mother would most days either fall asleep on the couch after her final two cherry Manhattans of the day, which I had learned how to make for her. Or she would beat me, with a hair brush, her stiletto heel, bookend, her fist, my belt—anything that was within reach when her violent nerve was triggered. I was often blamed, for answering the telephone (usually creditors), for talking back (children should be seen and not heard), for having chicken pox, for not cleaning the floor correctly, for anything and nothing at all.
My father died when I was 19; he was 45. My mother threw herself on top of his body and blamed herself for the cancerous end. Her drinking worsened. After college, I moved to New York. When I called her on a payphone to tell her that I was pursuing acting, she called me a slut and hung up. She threatened suicide 3 years later and I moved back to Pittsburgh. There were 10 years where I did not speak to her. The family home, she allowed to go to Sheriff’s sale, after abandoning it, not paying back taxes. The day after the birth of my daughter, 28 hours in labor, my Mother came to the hospital drunk. She told me that I had betrayed her. Four years later, I watched her have a heart attack in the E.R.. A tumor had dislocated her shoulder. She was put on morphine. She asked me if she was going to die.
I said, yes.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
Cover Image: "Yellow Red Wine Glasses, Paris"