Muttering

She watched soap operas compulsively, writing lists unintelligible; we never bothered to know. I reprise her, spinning notes to nowhere–writing them out and throwing them out over and over, just as she did.

On commercial breaks she would rise, sometimes quickly, and walk out of the room to mutter about the drama just suspended. I do something like that, wandering from room to room, occasionally muttering. After our mother died I heard her mention “mom” in such an occasion. She was born mildly retarded.

When she was very little a gust of wind lifted her off the ground, she was that slight, with her dress like a sail; the memory was a source of delight, retold with the same innocent enthusiasm with which she regarded a cat or a baby, the sort of enthusiasm of which only a child in her innocence is capable. Similarly deprived of guile, she retains that same childish enthusiasm, expressed just as it was when she too was a child.

She wasn’t goofy; the impression I’ve had, biased but based, is that she was highly intelligent, but for the deprivation of oxygen in the womb or, we children did debate, a violent blow in a domestic row. She’s still there in those small rooms, in the crater left by the blast, from which the rest of us scattered or succumbed.

Lifted her off the ground that gust of wind did.

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