It was a rainy autumn day—leaves stuck to the road, windshield wipers kept time to the soft fluttering beat of my heart. What had been a conversation between my mother and me had ended. After the words hung between us as if strung out on a clothesline.
“Do not ever expect me to be the sort of Grandmother who longs to play surrogate, I had five children of my own and have zero interest in the raising of yours.” What was generally a breathy tone had turned metallic, as if to emphasize her disdain over the mere thought of being put at the helm, and caring for, what in that moment were unborn children.
The wipers moved the rain to and fro and the road before us disappeared, reappeared, with the passage of each swipe.
My minds hand pulled the imaginary clothesline between us forward—each tug—discarded a scene, images of the ideal family, the future I had conjured, piece by piece out the window, released to fly with the wind.
Now I imagine her, the girl I was, eyes locked on her future, wishing she were anywhere other than in that car.
And I wonder how we landed upon what amounts to be a veritable post script memory. What was the conversation before the conversation. It occurs to me now that perhaps she feared I would become pregnant as a teen–was it fear that marked her words?
I have no idea.
It stands alone as one of many threads that I would weave into the story I told myself about being a grandparent–a story that now I work to re-cast for children not yet born.