there is a rumor (draft three)

There is a rumor that she took a gun and put it in her mouth. 

She was listening to the third act of La Traviata. As Violetta died, she closed her eyes and pulled the trigger.

She was wearing white. My sister heard the sound and ran to the room. The door was locked. The gardener and the neighbor—a friend and ex lover—helped break down the door. 

You could barely tell that that was what she’d done, at first. 

My mother never locked doors. When we were younger she removed our doorknobs—I was 13, he was 10, and she was 6. She removed every doorknob except for the entry doors.

There are no closed doors in my house, she slurred, her heated breath coming in waves against us. 

We stood silently, made of stone.

If we were silent she may pass us by.

My mother didn’t have a gardener. She did at one point, but he actually did become a lover.

It didn’t end well.

She hated gardens, after. 

My sister hasn’t lived with my mother since she moved away for college. She didn’t finish. 

She’s still finding herself.

My mother claims—claimed—the wrinkles, the deep lines that formed around her mouth—were due to my sister’s finding herself. The ones between her brows—those belong to me.

My mother hated white. She wore it once, for her first wedding. She wasn’t a virgin—hadn’t been for years—but my grandmother was old-fashioned. She let out the midsection before the wedding. The dress was still snug.

My grandmother managed to stay out of every photograph. 

My mother pretended to know Italian. She didn’t. 

She was listening to La Traviata. That is true. She didn’t understand a word, not until she dated Charlie, a “real” Italian. She liked the way he whispered in her ears.

I told her he was only whispering a menu and he probably found the interpretation in google. She frowned at me and rolled her eyes.

She didn’t own a gun.

She did keep every prescription she was ever written. Every one. She never threw away a pill.

I told her they were all expired. She said medicine didn’t expire.

I was wrong. She was right.

She took them all, probably during the first act.

She probably drew her last breath with Violetta.

That part was true, also.



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