by Laura

I needed to pick up a few things for my 8 year old. Tomorrow is the first day of school. My mom and I used to go back to school shopping with my daughter, even though that usually meant we had to fly in from whatever state we were living in at the time.

One family was in the greeting card aisle discussing Grandparents Day. Three generations of women shopped for this and that while taking each other for granted. From the corner of my eye, I’d catch a glimpse of a familiar haircut or style of clothes and have to shut it down. Don’t look. It’s not her. You know that. Don’t even look.

And with no self-checkout, of course there was the question. “How are you today?” Don’t make eye contact. You won’t be able to control yourself. Swipe your card. say “Just fine, thanks, and yourself?” Say it. SAY IT.

Who will I send the first day photo to? My father? Will he pretend to care? I don’t want to send it to him. I send things to Mom.

Mom, tomorrow’s the first day of school. I found something for her to wear, somehow. Not having an easy time of it, Mom. Sure as hell wish you were here. Bet you do, too.