Syd’s doctor had explained to her that a month or two after the procedure, her body would settle into a sleeker reality.
One day, Jen opened the closet to find that it had already been tidied and organized. Tina’s thin, spidery hand had even made labels for the plastic boxes she’d used to group together the family’s things. “Halloween” one box said, “Cal State Stuff” said another, “Photos,” “Kid Art.”
“Learn another language! Experience other cultures! Become a citizen of the world!”
“Learn another language and meet people from different countries!”
“Learn the language of your ancestors! Discover your heritage!”
“The easy and fast way to learn French is to meet a Frenchman!”
“Octoberfest! Join us! We will teach you how to order a beer in German!”
“Feel like dancing flamenco? No need to go to Spain! Come to Pronto Lang, and we will describe it to you in Spanish!”
“Learn Italian in two weeks! When at the Vatican, you will be able to speak to the Pope!”
Sassy magazine, which was very popular in the 90s because the models looked like real teenaged girls and the articles were about bands Mom loved—Lauren and I called them the “screaming ladies.”
Mom was a teenager between 1995 and 1999. She said those years were the best of her life. She’d get very sad talking about how she and her friends went to a club called Einstein’s that’s now been turned into a Taco Bell. She spent every Friday and Saturday nights dancing to those screaming ladies. Mom had pink-streaked hair and lived in Doc Martens and striped tights and dresses from thrift stores.
“Will you come over?” she asks suddenly.
She might have asked me over an hour ago. Now, I’m in yoga pants—the pair I wear so often they never see the inside of my dresser. It’s Tuesday. I’ve already planned the evening in my head: leftover lasagna, another glass of wine (or two), reality dating shows, a hot shower before bed.
Give all that up?