“On Sundays mother would take us to Mrs. Mulaney’s, where we would sit at her dining room table in our scratchy starched collars, picking at a plate of tiny sandwiches while our mother drank tea and chatted with our host. Then she would leave us, making a hasty exit so as not to give us the chance to make a scene. She had business out of town…

“We spent our Sunday afternoons sitting uncomfortably in Mrs. Mulaney’s parlour while she made stiff attempts at conversation, or pacing the backyard by ourselves in a desperate existential stupor. I usually made a point of bringing my Patricia doll, because she came with a little mirror sewn into one of her hands that I could use to make light patterns on the walls.

Mrs. Mulaney didn’t have any children of her own. With the advantage of time, I think now that my mother left us with her as a favour—although I can’t imagine how our presence could ever have been of much benefit to Mrs. Mulaney, since we spent so much time sulking and otherwise weren’t particularly exceptional children. She did, however, seem to enjoy hosting us, and despite her awkwardness we eventually warmed up to her enough to think of her with a kind of affection…

“One Sunday in particular stands out… I had fallen awkwardly while playing on the back patio, scraping my knee on the concrete, but also—and this was much worse—I had landed on my Patricia doll, cracking her little mirror. I burst into tears, and Bri, who I still maintain pushed me, ran to get Mrs. Mulaney. When she arrived, she picked me up gingerly and brushed me off. She said that she thought I seemed alright, with a gentle tone of voice that did make me feel a little better, and took the broken Patricia doll from my hand. I remember hoping dimly that she might get me another one. Instead she squared me up and looked me directly in the eyes: hers were kind and knowing. ‘That’s life, kid,’ she said, tenderly wiping my tears away. ‘One giant suckhole, for stupid stinky butts.'”

One Comment

  1. I thought I shorted the logic board on my computer, and later that day I spilled salad on the floor.

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