From the living room, I can hear my mother struggling.
She is reading my latest draft, tucked in tight behind her bedroom door. She is leaning on her crystals and fairies, shuffling the pages, burning sage to ward off the paragraphs of pain. She knows the story will not change even if we have.
My mother gasps. I ignore it.
I am watching Jeopardy, thinking cowl neck sweaters should be banned. Thinking soon this visit will be over. Thinking of Anne Rice for 400.
Muffled, my mother says, “You have a lot of work to do to be as good as Sig.”
Sig stole my life. We were best friends in high school, enemies by college. She loved my grandmother. She slept with my boyfriend. Sig writes fiction. She published a novel. It won an award.
The main character could have been my mirror.
In the car, on the way to somewhere, my mother dug out an ad for a Sig sighting. She was reading near our house, near where I left my heart. She was reading from the novel. At every stoplight, my mother quoted from the enemy, beaming at each word.
I wanted to push her into traffic.
“We are different writers,” I say.
I write non-fiction. I write memoir. I write the truth.
My mother wishes I did something different but she knows I cannot. She cracks the door and slides into her easy chair, away from me but as close as she can get.
Her eyes are wet. Mine are not.
“Lestat,” I say to the sage cloud forming. She nods.
“You always get it right,” my mother says, blowing her nose.