Dating : Loss Of Appendages

h2>Dating : Loss Of Appendages

As part of the mother series — 22.1

Talya Galasko
.psd diagram of appendage

Jennifer has returned from vacation and into her pillowing armchair — with new clothes, a tan, and an incredibly annoying zest for life.

Today was our first session of the year, and I was surprised to find her in the same spot as always. Gone are the oversized sweaters and leggings, and in come form-fitting dresses, espadrilles and colourful headbands. Time off seems to have done her much good, and I am truly glad for her mental respite — even if it’s come at the cost of my own.

We settle back into the courtesy of discussing my career and routine first, and then head toward relationships and eventually my mother. Jennifer wants to know more about her; and today’s the day I will tell her about the time she cut my father’s finger off.

It seems untrue, but if you were to ever meet my dad the story could be confirmed by way of the missing one third of the pinky finger on his left hand. For years I was told this was the result of some unwise proximity with the blades of an AEG fan in our home, but my step-mother later told me that my mother, her famous temper, and a serrated kitchen knife were in fact responsible for this separation of appendages.

Growing up my dad was very silent on facts concerning my mother, but my step-mom would always step in for second-hand relaying; eager to rattle and rub me up the wrong way, and once even proclaim that my mother was in fact “not dead,” before pausing for an inimitable period, only to continue: “Not officially at least! No one’s filed for a death certificate in the seven years since she died.”

Though I was present for the cutting off of the finger, and several other of my mother’s less friendly behaviours, to recall these memories pushes me into the blank of mind — the part where events are deliberately hidden as an attempt at self-preservation; and to summon them seems a cheat. If pressed, sometimes they become more clear, and at the edges I’m able to see objects, places and other people — but never her. There’s the one where we’re sitting with her new husband who she met in rehab, and he disappears a ball of foil he’s rolled up from a cigarette box into the corner of his eye as part of some kind of magic trick; and the one where I’ve gotten my head stuck in-between the burglar bars at her new flat, and I yell and yell for someone to help me, until my dad appears to fetch me and take me home.

I’m not sad about what’s happened. I think of it cautiously, but almost as though it were a real shame — much like missing a connecting flight, or losing one AirPod of two. I press on with the remembering because I think it helps me understand some parts of myself — like a fear of loss and love, and of late, an unbecoming tendency toward sharp objects.

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