What We Share

I told my mom I dreaded telling the cashiers at the grocery store, of all people, what was happening. They always saw us together or asked about whoever wasn't there. 

For me, my mom said, it was the bank teller. I had been there fully pregnant, and then I had gone back with just the three of you. Dad was out of town for work. I saw her behind the counter and suddenly felt so bad. I was there without a baby. She knew. I started crying. I needed to get money out of the checking account. She leaned forward and said, I understand--I lost one, too.

I picture the bank lobby I was apparently in but do not remember. I see it as the lobby I knew of a later bank: potted plants, plate glass windows, slanting sun, safe deposit vault to one side, tellers, my mom with her pass book. I must carry the memory of that other bank inside me, my tissues, even if I cannot see it. My mother, however, also sees it, knows it. And she also has the words of another human sprung from recognition of their mutual pain. Maybe such words are what make us most human. Such words, and now I can have them, too.

 

Richmond, VA

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