Some days, she was Mrs. Nobody.

with mum on stoop

Thinking of my mum this morning, dead seven years.

Some days, she was Mrs. Nobody. How airily she’d say that, and of course it meant nothing to me. I never parsed the sentence, her too-bright smile. And some days, the Girl From Sooke, also said airily, a person who washed dishes in the one sink, putting them in the blue plastic rack, then dried them one by one with a linen cloth printed with lobsters from Peggy’s Cove or wild roses from Alberta. The Girl From Sooke, who lugged the laundry bag downstairs to sort and wash our clothing. And who polished the wood furniture with Pledge.

Mrs. Nobody sat at the kitchen table with her cup of instant coffee and an Export-A, wondering why the house never stayed clean, why it was so hard to make ends meet, why the dollars never stretched far enough. Her Redbook magazine helped her prioritize—put so many dollars aside for food, shop in bulk, can this marriage be saved?

—from “Tokens”, an essay in Euclid’s Orchard, forthcoming September, Mother Tongue Publishing

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