Writers & Lovers: A Novel by Lily King:
I didn’t mean to move back to Massachusetts. I just had no other plan. I don’t like being reminded of those days on Chauncy, wriing stories in my dormer window on the third floor, drinking Turkish coffee at Algiers, dancing at the Plough and Stars. Life was light and cheap, and if it wasn’t cheap I used a credit card. My loans got sold and sold again, and I paid the minimums and didn’t think about the ballooning balance. My mother had moved back to Phoenix by then, and she paid for my flighs to see her twice a year. The rest of the time we talked on the phone, talked for hours sometimes. We’d pee and paint our nails and make food and brush our teeth. I always knew where she was in her little house by the noises in the background, the scrape of a hanger or the chime of a glass being put in the dishwasher. I’d tell her about people at the bookstore, and she’d tell me about people at her office in the state house in Phoenix-she was working for the governor then. I’d get her to retell some of her stories from Santiago de Cuba, where she grew up with her American-born, expat parents. Her father was a doctor, and her mother sang show tunes at a nightclub. Every now and then she’d ask if I had done my laundry or changed my sheets and I’d tell her to stop being maternal, it wasn’t in her nature, and we’d laugh because it was true and I had forgiven her for that. I look back on those days and it feels gluttonous, all that time and love and life ahead, no bees in my body and my mother on the other end of the line.