Maybe if I stay up late enough, it will all make sense to me.

Staying up late does not fix my problems, but lack of sleep makes me slightly dizzy, and that makes me forgot things. Mostly why I walked into the kitchen, or where I put down my iced tea, but whatever.

My Ma-Ma died yesterday. I got my charm bracelet tattoo with her. She used to write me letters and color out pictures so I could read them before I knew all the words she used. She’s the woman who got me a real pearl necklace when I turned 16 and the woman who sent me hope after Preston raped me. I loved her more than I can explain, and there are some things that we never understood about one another.

Death takes the members of my family slowly, as I suppose he does to us all. Somehow when it happens to me, it feels much more personal.

I admired my Ma-Ma. I went to her for advice and hugs. After therapy sometimes I’d drive to her house and she’d hug me, without really knowing why I was upset or invading with too many questions. She’d just hug me, and envelope me in that old lady perfume smell, and hush my tears like she did when I was a child and didn’t want to leave her.

I feared my Ma-Ma. The judgement she could have passed, and may have passed, and the judgement I know she did pass. Wanting to make someone proud gives them power, and power held by my family scares me. It’s rarely gone well for me. I wanted to make her proud, though. I wonder, if she saw all I am, would she be now? If she saw the book I’m writing, would she be proud then? If she saw how conflicted I am about everything in my head, would she be ashamed, or love me anyway?

Her birthday card got sent back. And I didn’t make the extra effort to call her this year. I hoped a card would be enough, because my phone works so rarely here. She died thinking I’d forgotten her birthday.

This is what regret feels like. I don’t like it.

And while it seems that my world has stopped and every little thing reminds me of her, I have things to do. I have travel plans soon, and going home now must be fit in beforehand. Rent must be made for next month before I leave town. If only walking through the grocery didn’t make me think of the Sausalito cookies she kept in that clear glass jar on her counter. If a tabby cat sitting in its window across the alleyway didn’t bring Fred to mind, and how Ma-Ma cried every time she had to leave that cat for a cruise.

She loved me my whole life. She didn’t always get me, and she sure as hell didn’t always agree, but she always loved me. And she’s gone. I feel a hollow spot from the love she used to send out.

I miss her.

I want to go home and hug her again. But I won’t get to.

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