by T. L. Sherwood
I admire my sister’s weird mnemonic knack; Stacy marks life by injury and death. Her weight loss and break-up memories sprinkle through conversations. During shared blessed events, she’ll stage whisper things like, “Can you believe Logan is being christened two days after Paul dumped cousin Meg!” She recalls the date of my latest wedding coinciding with the anniversary of her second child’s punctured eardrum. The day her divorce became final echoed Aunt Edna’s angina attack. Best yet is the pinnacle of reaching her ideal weight of one twenty one on January 21st, the same day as our paternal uncle’s death. Checking the calendar, I find I’m once again late to send the cable company a check.
Using a sieve to embolden pinpoint details, I embrace a soothing emotional distance from time. Writing a novel renders me myopic — aware only of make-believe relationships conceived on slips of paper, constructed on laptops, rewritten and edited to smooth prose. When I raise my head to notice the latest discord, I find discarded bandages decorating buried resentments and hurts. The corpse of an affair and the accompanying email are strewn through the house, overflowing the trash, and instead of folded laundry, there’s a new batch of misery near the dryer. Light leaks in from the recently dented garage door. When did he do that?
Basket in hand, I take in the pain of my current husband’s betrayal which he blames on my neglect and indifference and let it roil and churn. Carefully, I’ll reassemble the pieces into a narrative arc with subplots involving imaginary siblings, dogs I haven’t met, maybe throw in a fish named Buddha. My book will ask questions that — unlike real-life — have answers which make sense.
T. L. Sherwood lives in western New York near Buffalo and is currently working on a novel.