Mom's dead, but I don't wanna kill her anymore.
|My mother liked to read us fairytales. She died when we were young, and though we have photographs, when I close my eyes and reach for her in my mind, I conjure only the warmth of her arm around my shoulders, snuggled into her breast, listening to her heartbeat, her breath tickling my forehead, vibrations spreading from her mouth to my ear, lulled into soft darkness by her voice weaving stories I only half remember. Faded, like she is, but still lovely, ever present and haunting.
I'm five years old when I have my first kiss. The day before my mother dies I crawl beneath the playground's wooden bridge and metallic slides, fingers clenching the soft sand and cold rocks, my lips pressed against Julia's flushed cheek, our heads turning, chins tilting, our eyes wide and staring as we find the other's mouth and play with texture and pressure.
"Filthy jews. Stay away from them. Don't play with that girl."
At mom's funeral I scrub soap across my tongue and lips, ghosts of pleasure haunting my mouth. I rub hard, my skin raw, but no tools of penance bring mommy back to me.
Years pass, and I'm fifteen, creeping beneath the bleachers to find Julia spread out below. I lower myself atop of her, and amidst the roar of fans cheering on their teams, we explode.
The next day I visit my mother's grave, pressing white tulips to my lips, then bending to place them on the ground. My hands brush across her name, and I prick my finger on a sharp crack that has emerged, running through the stone.
"Dirty... greedy... they murdered The Lord."
Outside her father's shop, I kiss Julia goodnight (goodbye) my fingers stroking her curled hair. Mom's dead, but I don't wanna kill her anymore.