One midday, beneath the shade of a leaning cypress tree, after the late-spring sea fog had lifted, I stared out to the crashing waves with a grave impassivity. In the past years, I’d grown deeply attached to the ocean side town. I believed in a sense we were one, the town and I, joined together in the same way the redwood trees unite their roots underground.
Aggrieved and spiraling with emotions like a blender on high-speed, I replayed Mother’s words, her promises; there would be new bedroom furniture and a private school, and a nice house. I could wear a school uniform like Jane.
Mother had strolled into my room twenty-minutes earlier with a confident air and found me absorbed in my sticker collection book, categorizing each sticker by theme. I was on the butterfly page. There were 33 butterflies—one more butterfly than fairies. Mother had a faraway look, a deep and distant gaze that made me think she was traveling with the angels in the sky or the dolphins in the sea. I knew innately from all my years with Mother that she was happy; and so I also knew she wasn’t going to tell me her boyfriend Ben was finally leaving; still, I held onto the hope, even though all the signs pointed in the opposite direction.
The rest is in the book 🙂