Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Piper's Mum

She folded her sister Boo's letter into its envelope, then she picked up the phone. "I must see her, Boo." She said into the receiver, though she hadn't even dialed a phone number.

Piper's mother had assumed Piper was preparing to get married, and she wanted to see Piper before the big day to pass on all the secrets of The Absent Mama Legacy before Piper had a chance to start a family of her own. Boo's letter mentioned that Piper was making a wedding dress. Of glass. Piper would be turning thirty now, right? Who was she going to marry, her mother wondered, that singing coach whom she had fucked in high school? Though she may have disappeared from Piper's life, her mother knew an excellent card reader. She was sure she knew more about Piper than Piper did.

Now that Piper was getting married, she wanted to see her to tell her that it was Piper's duty to have children and then abandon them.

Piper Kincaid didn't know she had come from a long line of mothers who abandon their children, a tradition that dated way back, possibly before the days of Hansel and Gretel.

Some of the first abandoning mothers had done it on doorsteps of neighbors or at churches. Later, the fashion became leaving your infant in dumpsters of empty city alleys. These past few generations, abandonments turned more sophisticated: a mother stayed on with her brood for a few years, then made a quick exit, leaving Daddy with little ones who couldn't yet wipe their noses. Other abandoners got super demanding occupations, like being a suffragist or a lawyer, and forgot about the kids, though they were right under her feet. But Piper's mother wasn't like any other mothers. She made her exit after her eldest was eighteen years old! She had made motherhood into a long acting career; she'd pretended to enjoy mothering for eighteen years before she disappeared, leaving Quinn, her boy, and Piper, her pubescentl girl. This Mum patted herself on the back for sticking around long enough and then escaping just at the time when she'd have to give that awful birds and bees talk. She'd never been good with words; she'd mess up the sex talk anyway. Besides, she told herself, this Mrs. Kincaid's exit had been so dap. There had been headaches and spousal conflict and broken glass--the stuff that good novels are made of! Hey, Hansel and Gretel's Mama, or Cinderella's Mama: eat your hearts out! Mama Kincaid was surely the Queen of Abandoning her Children.

When Mama Kincaid finally did return to Quimby in her Mother-of-the-Bride floral attire, she fell to her knees and wanted to shatter her own heartless chest to discover herself facing Piper's best friend, Rebecca O'Leary, who wept as she embraced an urn full of Piper's ashes.

Breast cancer?

Mama Kincaid held her face in her hands and said, "Oh, my sweet daughter!" She'd never before used that word when thinking of or describing the girl she'd given birth to. "Oh, my sweet daughter." She repeated as if she didn't believe that voice were her own.

After that, no one knows what came of Mum Kincaid. Boo didn't hear from her ever again. And we can assume that she fired her Psychic.

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