My mother would have been 89 years old today.  Would have been.  I didn’t realize it until later, but the day my car was totaled was the twentieth anniversary of her death.

And all I can think about is how glad I am that she isn’t around to see that I lost the house, that I’m living in a shelter, that my cats are living at the vet’s and that I don’t know how long it will take me to even begin paying him back.  Let alone how long it will take me to pay back all the people who’ve kicked in to help keep me afloat the last couple of years, helped me pay for my bankruptcy — there’s a supreme irony in the fact that if you have reached the point of needing to file, you’re too poor to afford to do it — and all the rest of it.

Let’s face it.  There’s a big part of me that’s ashamed.

There’s another part, of course, that points out my mom loved me and would never be ashamed of me as long as I was doing my best.  And I know it.  Another part that reminds me in no uncertain terms that if I’d had any idea this was waiting for me, I’d have made a whole boatload of different choices.  And I know that, too.  But like that line Julia Roberts’ character says to Richard Gere’s in Pretty Woman, the bad stuff is easier to believe.

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This entry comes from a prompt given by the facilitator of the writers’ group I attend through the auspices of the women’s “day refuge” I go to often.  The prompt was given on July 31, 2012, and it was:


“I’m from…”

I’m from here, there, everywhere, neverwhere, never there.  I’m from bad luck and lost chances and death and hope gutted and fear attacked and life and second chances, the one we have to make for ourselves.

I’m from a house that isn’t mine anymore — they’ve taken out my roses, my mother’s jade plant, taken off the screen door and replaced my solid, sensible front door, unadorned as a two-by-four, with something geegawed and glassy-lighted.

But the jacaranda I put in is still there, or was a few weeks ago, and the crepe myrtle my mom put in not long after buying the house.  I always loved that tree, with its wine-colored blossoms and a trunk that shed its bark to reveal silver-brown wood as smooth to the touch as satin or new love.

I’m from there, but I’m not there now, and I look forward to…something, somewhere, that fits.