A Part of the Landscape
Firefly Magazine 2017
April 18, 2017
The letter came and Betsy tossed it on her counter with the flyers and magazines but took the huge envelope that had to be an invitation to a wedding—probably, she hoped, her daughter’s.
With a joyous heart she stuffed it in her purse to open and enjoy with her morning coffee after her gym workout. Betsy and her daughter, Terri, had been estranged for several years and all her attempts to make things right had gone unanswered.
She whipped through her workout and added ten minutes of cardio to savor the invitation opening. She needn’t have bothered. While sitting with her coffee in the corner of her local coffee shop she pulled the invitation from her purse. It was an invitation to Terri’s wedding alright, but in every conceivable place was written in NOT. You are Not invited to the wedding of Terri and . . .
The return card was filled out for her. I will Not be attending. . .
The meal choice was filled with a dash as was the brunch the next day.
Written at the bottom of the non-invitation invitation was a note; Please read the letter that came in the same days mail for an explanation. T
The letter stayed unopened on Betsy’s counter for so many days that she no longer saw it—like a pair of socks on the stairs waiting to be carried up to the laundry they just become a part of the landscape after a while.
The following month, on the day of the wedding, Betsy open a bottle of gin and poured herself a glass; her first in over three years of sobriety and sat down to read the letter.
Mom, I sent you that invitation so you can feel some of the hurt that you have unleashed on me over the years. Your years of drinking and the embarrassment and humiliation it’s caused me personally and professionally have made me your bitter angry child. But now I’ve gotten over that and I want you to know how proud of you I am for sticking with your clean life and I want you at my wedding to walk down the aisle with me. It will mean so much to the both of us—I just know it. I love you. Your daughter, Terri.
Betsy was crying by the time she finished the letter and looked over at the clock. It was blurry and she couldn’t make out the time but she knew that her daughter needed her so she got up and staggered to her bedroom, leaving the almost empty gin bottle on the floor, to find something to wear that would pass as a mother-of-the-bride dress and hurry to the hall where the wedding was taking place. Unfortunately she made it in time driving fast and erratically without the good fortune of being pulled over and arrested as she had so often in her past.