By Krista Genevieve Farris
There was a mother bear incident, her blaming my child for biting her son; then accusations that I’m too soft on my kids, incompetent as a mom.
I noticed the black of her hair turned blue at her scalp and wondered how much of that was intentional. I don’t know much about these things, whether it’s staged, a mistake, or something she hasn’t yet noticed. I like her a lot, so I don’t say anything and understand I’ll probably get it in time. I hope she comes around because I’ve missed her.
She’s big eyed and skinny, simultaneously genuine and put on. She’s not trying to look young. And she doesn’t. But, she doesn’t look old either. She just looks like her. And I love that. I’m caught off guard by her candor when I asked her that question about her life and thought she’d dodge it like a squirrel on a leaf slick sidewalk. I’m anxious and waiting for her to ask me a question. Is she nervous? Is she curious? But I can’t remember if she’s a question asker. I don’t think she is. I don’t recall. Is it up to me to insert myself? To ask about the blue, blue roots?
I realize it’s not my place. Not yet. And doubt if it ever will be. I grieved like someone died when we had our falling out. Not like she died, but like I did. And, indeed, a part of me that believed in friendship, in non-sanguine sisterhood died a sudden death in those few weeks when our relationship decayed.
There was a mother bear incident, her blaming my child for biting her son; then accusations that I’m too soft on my kids, incompetent as a mom. Then an answering machine apology that I missed while my bruised ego was busy sliding a tidbit of criticism or two into our unfriendly circle of friends who loitered like piranha around us waiting to chomp, to tear us down to floating bone flotsam. It was easy and quick, too facile, to cut out someone I knew so well. Every weakness I knew would destroy her; I shared, planting an idea here, asking a leading question there. She threw a few big parties and left me off her list. We made a good demolition team.
Here I sit 10 years later, having climbed the quiet stairs to her studio. It’s just me and her again. Our kids are all in school. Her nails that were crusted with baby blue frosting when she made the cake for my baby shower are short and clean. Her hands that held my sons hours after they were born look a little more worn, but nimble. Oh, our children have grown so much. But us?
I marvel at her art on paper. It’s framed on the walls, nude still shots of herself taken by herself—flying over fences, jumping off bridges, flipping in air—perfectly self-timed. I marvel at her. She is a kinetic sculpture as she sits here almost still. Her skin fidgits on its own; it can’t contain her liveliness When she bends over to scratch her ankle, just above her Converse, just below her the roll of her jeans, I fantasize for a second she wants me to know, wants me to not have to ask if those blue roots are intentional, a tribute, a yen.
She hugs me and says she’s glad I came by. And that she’s moving in three weeks, give or take. She shows me a picture of the island beach, the crystal waters where she’ll dive. And I know the yearning is mine. Her roots are ceylon sapphire, mine an unseen blue.
Krista Genevieve Farris lives in Winchester, Virginia with her husband and three sons. Her recent work has appeared in Right Hand Pointing, Cactus Heart, Tribeca Poetry Review, Literary Mama, The Literary Bohemian, The Piedmont Virginian, The Rain, Party and Disaster Society and elsewhere.