Sometimes we know when a moment isn’t just a moment. Standing here in this ridiculous space that doesn’t even feel like home, that’s exactly what I’m experiencing. The sun dims slightly, as if it can’t compete with the heat inside this house, bouncing off the ugly bamboo and against the stupid chandelier that is a serious earthquake hazard, mark my words.
I never just wanted a mother. I wanted a mommy. Same was true with my father. What a nice, neat conclusion to my tale if only I could upgrade Nails to Mom, Rooster to Dad. What a pretty ending that I can only dream of, not actually experience.
The words press against my throat, but they go no further. “I’m busy,” I say, and start to head up the curving staircase, up to my room where I actually do feel at home, where I can lock the door and sit on my window seat and think my thoughts and possibly, probably, cry some more, from sadness and hope and the weirdness that is life.
Nails lays a hand on my arm. It’s been so long since we’ve had any sort of contact. This isn’t exactly what I’d been hoping for, either.
“You could have had him,” she says. “You blew it. Now he’s paying the price.”
Um, I’m sorry. What-what-what?
“Matt is cute,” Nails, my mother, the person who cried into the void and gave me life, says. She says it like it’s the world’s most important thing, and to her maybe it is. She wears an oversized sweatshirt and leggings, like Flashdance is about to call and ask for its outfit back. She looks at me like I’m one of those dust motes shimmering in an irritating way, just something else she’s going to have to ask Elvira to wipe from the balcony.
“Let me tell you,” she says, and you just know she’s about to lay down the intel. “You may never get that chance again.”
I know this is supposed to hurt. I’m aware that it’s an insult. I’m supposed to find a sweet dark corner and lay down my head and cry for all the opportunities missed because I’m not only a dork, but an ugly dork.
Instead I feel amazing. Matt? He wanted me. It’s obvious. He can’t just leave this alone. He can’t let me be. He’s going to keep worrying it like the dogs at the shelter gnaw after their frozen Kongs. Difference is that they eventually get their peanut butter. Him, he gets nothing.
Finally I’m sure of it.