Dear Mother This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 1, 2011
By , Greenwich, CT
Dear Mother,
So here I am, about to graduate.
You did not make it this far. It has been six years since I touched your skin or smelled your perfume. Faint remnants still linger in your closet, embedded in the threads of your clothes that I won't let Dad throw out. It has been six years since I saw you reach for just one more glass of champagne. Six years since you continually left me stranded at school without a ride, my trust in you waning. It has been six years since I tucked you in at night and mothered you like you should have done me. Six years since your sickness got the best of you.
It is hard to think that, in a sense, you have no idea who I am. If we met today, I'd be a stranger to you, and you to me. If you were asked about my favorite things, my flaws, ambitions, and fears, you would answer (in that beautiful voice I so wish I could remember) that you did not know.
You will never know that I take photographs now, that my camera is an escape. I photographed you this summer – your silk scarf with the music notes, your wedding shoes, your delicate blouses, objects that would have remained in musty, dark drawers, gathering dust, waiting to be forgotten had I not discovered them. It was ­almost as if I rediscovered you, as if photographing them helped to preserve my memory of the ­relationship that once existed between us.
You will never know that I still love to write, and that the pages of the countless journals I relentlessly pestered you for have been filled. You will never know that I doodle faces and floor plans and scribble shopping and to-do lists exactly like those in your notebooks.
You will never know that this past summer, I saw Degas' “The Little Dancer” again, stirring memories of the rare sober nights you spent with me, leafing through your drawing pads, teaching me how to sketch a perfect leg, a perfect hand, telling me stories in which I starred as the prima ballerina.
You will never know that after six years, when I fly to California to see your family, I'll smile in that same bashful way you always did when you were purely happy.
I may have suppressed your memory after you were gone, but I never forgot you. Why else would people say how similar our mannerisms are, how I wear my hair exactly as you did, how I am, without a doubt, my mother's daughter? No, I never forgot you. I just decided to forget the person you ­became when you chose alcohol over me. I know you loved me, and I hope, more than anything,
that you knew I loved you too.
Your Daughter, Olivia

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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HannahBanana23 said...
Apr. 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm
im so sorry for you having to deal with that i felt the same way for awile when my mom chose drugs and alcohol over me and my sister, but then i decided to move on and forget about her. never make the same mistake to your daughter(s) as our mothers did :)
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