XXIX. DazzledGirl Doesn't

The first time I saw Her apartment she and her roommate were well and settled in. I remember driving downtown with the help of my GPS, programmed in United Kingdom mode with a sexy male British accent and words like petrol station and motorway, with final direction by cell phone as She stood on the side walk and motioned me through a parallel parking exercise. One of the hazards of living in suburbia too long is that one loses the ability to parallel park. (Since I’ve given up the suburban housewife mantle, clearly the next step for me is to purchase an automobile with the built in parallel parking feature. I’m much too old to relearn the traditional way.)

I had so hoped that moving into Her own place downtown would be her salvation, that she would settle into a routine of biking to work, having picnics in Hollywood Cemetery and sitting on her stoop talking to her neighbors on lazy Saturday afternoons. I wanted her to have a life without me, a life far from the shadow of my deteriorating marriage. Her little house on Meadow Street seemed the perfect place to start.

I have said for the past twenty six years that I would never win Mother of the Year but do admit to being particularly gifted at mothering through the eyes of my child. I can become a five year old at her ballet recital, realizing after the tutu has been tied on that she needs to use the potty. I can become a thirteen year old not wanting to take gym class because she has her period. I can become a seventeen year old with a gay prom date who forgets a corsage. I can become a twenty five year old with her first dilapidated rental house. I remember the feelings of my childhood more so than the events and I have always tried to keep them foremost in my memory when parenting Her. I don’t ever want to be the parent that can’t remember the foibles and mischance of their own youth.

Her house was charming as I looked at it through the eyes of the twenty year old living deep inside me. I remembered my first apartment in downtown Buffalo, just across the street from Canisius College, where I was in my junior year as an English major. It was a two family house; I was living upstairs with three girlfriends and four football players were living on the first floor. You can imagine its appeal. My share of the rent was sixty five dollars, an utter fortune, and I was bartending at a place my landlord owned, to pay my share.

The apartment didn’t have a refrigerator. The reason being: the staircase was too narrow to navigate a modern fridge up, something that, I assure you, never crossed our minds. But it had hardwood floors, built in book cases and beautiful bay windows that ran the length of the living room. There was a third floor attic room that had no heat but was a great place to escape to with a thick novel and the afghan my grandma had crocheted for me. In the summer I would wallpaper part of those slanted walls with an oriental floral paper and cut out individual dogwoods, pasting them to the ceiling where I could enjoy them while lying on the floor of the furniture-less room.

I knew She saw Meadow Street through those same idyllic eyes. She didn’t see the faulty plumbing, the inadequate kitchen or the furnace that wouldn’t heat and would force her out into a snowstorm and into a hospital that coming December. I knew she saw the hardwood floors, the pretty moldings and the fenced in yard. I smiled brightly and enjoyed the brunch She and the Baker had made that morning; fresh fruit salad, a vegetable frittata, French toast, sausages and peach pie with Mimosas to celebrate the day. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon; She was content, I was happy in love, my Husband was at work. The only thing to mar that perfect day was meeting her roommate.

I knew as soon as I saw him. Between my precognition and a well developed judge of character, I knew immediately that he spelled trouble. At the time I thought he was a gay boy; very slight of build and mildly unattractive. He turned out to be something else entirely but I trusted Her judgment and swallowed the bile rising in my throat. ~DazzledGirl


  1. Every post you write leaves me wanting to know more! (And same with my two friends that I showed your blog to.)
    Katie (from Twitter)

  2. I was in that Buffalo apartment many a time. Would get jugs of wine at the corner liquor store :) You were kind to me during my Canisius years.

    Just discovered this blog! You and your talented daughter need to write more.