Friday, February 8, 2008

my stepbrothers' mother

The last time I saw her was almost two years ago, at my younger stepbrother's wedding. I introduced myself, because, even though we'd met twice before, at a graduation and another wedding, I wasn't sure if she would remember me. We talked about the weather, the music, the bride's dress, and then the weather again, because it really was a beautiful day, brilliant sunshine and, after a week of rain, a cloudless sky. The conversation was brief and awkward. I was five weeks pregnant and standing up for too long made the nausea worse. And, of course, she wasn't just my stepbrothers' mother. She was also my stepfather's first wife and, twenty years before, he had left her to marry my mother.

For her 25th college reunion, she wrote a short paragraph describing her life. She said that the divorce had been her biggest disappointment. After the divorce, she took the boys to Spain for a year, and, when she came back, she married a writer, a minor local celebrity with a beard and a big voice. They had a child and bought a house with lots of windows, way out in the country.

I've been looking back, trying to remember, but, in the end, I think there are only two other things I know about her. Just after Christmas, she found out she had cancer. And she died yesterday.