Three Car Crashes and the Long Afterward
The story is no longer me and my vehicles but my mother and hers. We called it an accident, but it wasn’t.
I have been hitRelease me.
I was my mother’s first-born daughter, but not her favorite
but not her favorite
Beth is the daughter I wish I’d never had. Beth is too much trouble.
I love you
I remember when I was 22—all day I said to anyone who would listen, “Today is the 22nd of May and I’m 22.” Wasn’t I clever? But I suppose that, in a way, is not all as dumb as it sounds. Perhaps that is one of life’s mysteries—to find a near perfect balance between life’s simplicities and life’s mysteries.
Now last night, when sleep was reluctant to rest on any pillow, I thought of beautiful things I could say to my beautiful 22-year-old—now, however, it just seems that I don’t want to be clever or wordy—I just want to tell you how much I love you—Dad and I—and how pretty your little brown head of curls is. Your smile is an instant frown remover and your talents abound. Mostly, we just love you.
I think I’ve jumped around a lot, but images don’t always assemble themselves in a rational line. Feelings are brittle, porcelain-like. They crack, they chip, and sometimes break into smitherins. (Now there’s a word I’ve heard used many times and don’t think I’ve ever seen. It’s a word, isn’t it?) Sometimes a chip doesn’t matter. But sometimes the finest artisan can’t repair the damage and it must be discarded . . . The summer has been such a maze. Trying to rationalize you there, us here.
You were once an etherial creature.
Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of three dozen books in multiple genres and an award-winning teacher at the University of Pennsylvania. Her new memoir in essays is Wife | Daughter | Self (Forest Avenue Press). Her new craft book is We Are the Words: The Master Memoir Class, from which this essay was adapted. More at bethkephartbooks.com.
Enter your email address to receive notifications for author Beth Kephart
Confirmation link sent to your email to add you to notification list for author Beth Kephart
More by this author
It’s about suggesting, right there on the page, that the writer is no more important than the reader.
More in this series
We had other places we called home, other cities and countries and people who weren’t present that we loved.