On the pitch-black upright piano is a photo of my mother. It is a portrait. It was taken in the 1950s. It is in black and white. She is in a houndstooth jacket and a white blouse. She would have been wearing a matching skirt. Her hairdo is contemporary. My mother looks very pretty in the picture. There’s a beautiful light in her face and in her hair, coming in from the right. My mother looks like a 1950s movie star. The photographer was an established artist at the time. His work grew to even greater fame in later years. He’s now celebrated as one of the nation’s greatest photographers. The photo must have been composed and shot when he was still an accessible person for less than famous people, such as my mother.
It was my mother who made me happy and proud to be of her sex at an age when a child becomes conscious of the essence of the divide and which side they want to find themselves on.
My mother died two years ago. She was 89. I was in New York when it happened. I flew out the next day. My mother was buried, not cremated. Not a week has passed since my mother’s decease when I have not asked myself what the corpse would be looking like, what the rotting of it has turned the body into.
My husband died ten years ago. He was cremated.
I prefer cremation. Not for me. It’s irrelevant. Death will not happen to me. It will always only happen to others.