This was written for a writing course I was taking, and we had to start at one time, and then skip forward or back in the life of the same person. I started in the 80’s and then skipped forward to the near present. Again, it seems to have a theme of being happy with what you have, and I guess the theme of 2022 is self acceptance. Please note, that I am not trying to accept being a serial killer, this note will make more sense after some of my later posts.
I coughed as I tried to escape the fumes, hoping that no one lit a match near my sister’s head. “Come on, Jenny, you have enough hairspray that you could use your hair as a helmet. We are going to be late.” I stamped my foot, and then reached down to pull up my neon pink leg warmer.
I couldn’t wait to get to the roller rink, but Jenny was busy trying to get just a little more volume that Amy Pilsner, and so I was stuck. Mom wouldn’t let me take my bike across town alone at night, so I was stuck waiting for Jenny, as usual
Tracey looked down at the photo, that had brought back the memory rushing back like it was yesterday. Jenny had been so proud of her hair, that she begged Mom to take a Polaroid of it. There were three of them. The first one Tracey was sneezing, and the second Jenny’s eyes were closed, but the third was perfect. We were so happy back then.
Tracey’s phone dinged, and she pulled herself out of the chair, wincing a little at the pain in her right knee. She would have to rub some A535 on it later, and take some tylenol. It only took a month for her to heal from that first sprain back at the rink, but she was still feeling last years, even after the physio.
She finally got to the phone, and saw the notification. It Emily, Jenny’s granddaughter, posting a picture of her and her mother Clara on Instagram. Emily looked so much like Jenny had at that age, it made her heart ache. Tracey felt a stab of guilt at how long it had been since she had went to see Jenny, but it wasn’t like Jenny would know. Jenny hadn’t remembered her in a long time.
Every time Tracey left the nursing home, she was paranoid for weeks. Each time she forgot her where she left her keys, she wondered if this was it. Was this was the first step, though she was reaching an age where it wouldn’t be early onset anymore. At least Jenny seemed happy, happier than she was at least.
Tracey looked around her small two bedroom house and frowned at the quiet. She wondered at times if her mother had been right. If Tracey should have settled down, settled that is, and got married and had some kids. There wouldn’t be the linger rumors at family occasions that she was in fact, a lesbian.
It was such a strange concept to others, that she would prefer being alone, that they instead tried to come up with ideas on why she didn’t have someone. The lesbian theory was the best of the bunch, the others leaving her either traumatized, or too pitiful to keep someone. They couldn’t imagine that she might not want someone, that this may be the life she wanted.
They were too busy comparing her to Jenny, who in her illness had her history rewritten. People spoke of how sad it was that Jenny couldn’t remember her children, how happy they had made her, how much she loved them. That this illness had torn apart such a happy family, and that Jenny never got a chance to know her own grandchild , oh it was such a terrible thing.
Some of it was even true. It was tragic that Jenny didn’t know her own grandchild, and it was true that she loved her daughters, but the reality stopped there. People seemed to gloss over Jenny’s teen pregnancy, the alcoholism, the seven weeks her second daughter spent in the NICU for FAS, or the two years the kids lived with Tracey and Jenny’s parents until Jenny got back on her feet.
It was the same way they glossed over thirty years of nursing, the volunteer work, and all the traveling Tracey did in her own life. In the end, all anyone saw when they compared the sisters was Jenny’s two surprisingly well adjusted daughters, four grandchildren and Tracey’s empty house.
Tracey’s phone dinged again, and she saw the reminder: Cards with the Girls. She looked around her empty house again, and smiled. She loved her nieces dearly, but she really wouldn’t trade this life for anything.