My lovely and gorgeous friend over at abadpatient.com recommended Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton, so I logged onto my local library and signed up to be number 107 on the hold list. In the meantime, I checked out Sister, also by Lupton, and was, for awhile, a little eh about it. A woman’s sister is an apparent suicide. Beatrice is not buying this theory because she knows her so well. The power of family when everything is forcing you to take the logical (and easier) path is incredible; Lupton’s finesse describing things only a sibling would know, and, more importantly, remember, is beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s written directly to the dead sister. I’m wary of this trick because of the Murder of Roger Ackroyd issue (loved that book, but Christie got into big fat trouble for it), but I chipped away at it and came to really like it. I’m a sucker for a thriller with layered and broken-by-life characters, but the real draw here is the relationship between the sisters. How powerful it is to have people in your life who know all your shortcomings, your tiny strengths, barely noticeable, and your shallow faults. And they still manage to love and forgive you. I suppose that’s why we are our worst with them; it’s a valuable safety net. My oldest brother always watched out for me. When I was little and the babysitter locked everyone except me out of the house so she could make out with her boyfriend, my brother went door to door until a neighbor let him use the phone to call my mom at work. Of course all three brothers dragged me out at night while they were supposed to be babysitting so if they got pulled over by the police they could say they were taking me to the emergency room. Siblings work both sides better than anyone. My sister, who made me wear hot pants long before I was mentally prepared, also made sure everyone got on the same bus everyday with one pass, a move that was both illegal and required a lot of fast talkin’.
My mom, 80 years old, took her great-grandson to Gymboree the other day. The Son never liked Gymboree; neither did Yvette or Ramona. They refused to participate, refused to hug the stupid clown doll (secretly I applauded this), refused even the parachute game. The Son would just frown and sit on the sidelines, pondering donuts probably, a mindset he employed when we tried swimming lessons. But there was my mom with Mason…who loved it! Hugged everything, made friends, didn’t want to leave. I can’t describe to you the circumstances which led my mom to be there with him; it would involve too many secrets. Ok, maybe in a later post. But the thought of my mom, who used to drive us past abandoned buildings and tell us they were orphanages she was considering “so stop all your whining,” was overwhelming.