Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the last book I ever read (All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, excerpt four)

from All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews:

I leave Emergency to find my mother and my aunt who are drinking black coffee in the cafeteria. My aunt Tina is older by a few years but otherwise they are almost the same person. They both have snow-white bobs, flashing cat eyes, a million wrinkles each, and really strong grips. They’re barely five feet tall. When they see me they both call out my name and make room between them and pull me onto a chair and put their arms around me and my aunt tells me she loves me and my mother tells me she loves me and I tell them I love them too. I can barely breathe. I’m jealous of my own mother for having her sister near her at a time like this. When my father died Tina came then also to be with my mother and my sister and me, and bought each of us a dozen pairs of white cotton panties so we wouldn’t have to worry about mundane things like laundry while we were planning a funeral. When my mother had her bypass surgery Tina came then too and took me to Costco and we pushed a giant cart around an enormous warehouse buying my mother a year’s supply of ketchup and toilet paper and Vaseline Intensive Care lotion, which has recently been renamed Vaseline Intensive Rescue lotion by the company to reflect the emergency atmosphere of current life on earth. During her recovery Tina bathed her sister gently, laughing, immodest, the way I helped my sister shower when she was too weak from starving herself to do it alone. My mother a Rubenesque bundle of flesh and scars, a disciple of life, and my sister a wraith. How does one give birth to the other?

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