Tuesday, October 24, 2006


My mother is trying to form words, an almost impossible task this morning. “I… I… I…”

I wait, by Bea's bedside.

“Please tell me,” she finally utters in such a faint voice that I must lean in close.

“Tell you what?”

“If I’m normal or not.”

“Can you explain what you mean a bit better?”

Bea stares up at me with distress. She hesitates until confident enough to ask what must surely be a difficult question: “Who am I?”

“Beatrice. Beatrice Chinnock Grabbe. Does that ring a bell?”

With a frown, she gives her head a quick shake.

“You live in Wellfleet.”

“Wellfleet.” Bea repeats, closing her eyes, as if the eyelids were too heavy, reason enough for this retreat to a fact without dispute: “I was born in Belleville, New Jersey.”

“That’s right!”

There’s a pause, again to collect thoughts.

My mother furrows her brow. “And, who are you?”

“I’m your daughter.”

A contented sound escapes her closed lips. “Hmmmmm. How marvelous to have a daughter!”


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