My Sister, the liar
When Regina threw that bottle of perfume at my head, I lost my balance, fell down a flight of stairs and hit my head really hard. When I awoke in the entryway to my apartment building, I noticed a postcard addressed to me on the floor:
I’m sorry I left you and your sister. I know this is too little too late, but for whatever it’s worth, I have always carried you in my thoughts and prayers.
My mom had disappeared over 20 years before and now I receive this postcard with no return address? I turned it over to see a picture of Miami.
I called my dad from the airport to let him know I was going to find mom, whatever it took. I saw to it that all mail would be forwarded to my motel room in Miami where I was holed up, scouring through phone books and search engines and local concert halls (my mother was a concert pianist).
Nothing though. I couldn’t find anything, anywhere. At night I’d wander Ocean Drive, searching for some sort of familiar face. All I saw were giggling gaggles of Floridians with tanned skin, boob jobs; guys with shaved pecs and arms walking with their chests out, sipping on mojitos. Souped up cars blasting Latin beats mixed with contemporary pop music. Girls in bikinis working as brand ambassadors for Red Bull or some other lame product. What a shit show.
I thought of all the things I would say to my mom. There was so much I wanted to know. But I knew that if I actually did find her, I’d probably draw a blank.
After three weeks I started getting very discouraged. But then I caught a break. I knew a guy at a crime lab in Bethesda and I asked him to check the postcard for prints. Something came up. The woman whose print was on the card had been arrested a few times for minor, alcohol related offenses. The FBI also had a file on her because she wrote a letter to the President with some very choice words. She also had her fingerprints taken by the state of California, for when she worked (quite briefly) as a public servant.
It all sounded very familiar. I gave my sister a call.
“What’s up, kiddo?” she asked. “How’s South Beach? Rockin’ the speedo and drinking mojitos?”
“Don’t be cute with me,” I said. “You might have been a little more careful when you wrote that postcard. Next time wear gloves before you send someone a fraudulent piece of mail.”
“Shit,” she said.
We didn’t say anything for the next minute or so. We just listened to the silent buzz from the telephone receiver.
Then, “Knox, I just wanted you to feel better about things. I thought that if—”
I hung up the phone and walked off down Ocean Drive. Passing a mother, pushing her child in a stroller, I tried to give her a smile. She gave me a cross look, kept walking.
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