[Ongoing story. The recovering addict Merrill remembering the night their mother left.]
You’d think enough time has passed that I would not remember. But it’s clear like it was last night. I feel the air that came in the front door. I see her shape before she turned her head to me. I can probably remember how she smelled. My mother had a sweet smell that a child doesn’t have the experience to name. A flower. Perhaps a flower.
But now I can’t get that night out of my head. It’s making me crazy. I need to see something different. I need to feel it gone. This is what I need to talk about with my guy. But it’s three a.m. and I’m not waking him up. He doesn’t need this. He’d answer but I’m not going to do that.
I get up and get a glass of water. Crackers. I never eat in the middle of the night, but I open the box and grab a handful. Triscuits. Their crunch fills the space of the kitchen. I sit and chew. In rehab they taught me how to sit. It was hard at first, not any easier now but I’ve learned how to do it. What else have I ever done like that where I had to bear the unbearable. That’s progress. I sit and listen. The stove makes a very low buzz, probably from the light from the microwave above it. I leave that small light on at night. I like that. It’s comforting, the low light.
I get up and look out the window. My neighborhood is all grays at night. The one street light turns the area under it a brighter gray. But still no color. My colorless neighborhood. I can’t wait for the sun to come up and turn my world to reds and dusty oranges. The world around me is filled with colors I like. Nighttime is not my time. I remember my mother standing at the door. Her dress is gray, her hair is gray, the room is filled with gray air, the suitcase she carried was gray. Only her eyes were blue when she turned back and accidentally saw me. The only color in my world that night.
Jesus, I need to think of something else. I need to sleep because in a few hours the sun will come out and fill in the colors and I’ll be able to go on.