Saturday 26 June 2021

'Postcards from Nowhere' by Allison Rae King

Fingers stretch into the picture frame like fancy-costumed showgirls; the Hollywood sign, a precariously perched promise on top of rolling sawdust and scrubland; a blue sky empty of measurable things, simply a backdrop for the drama queen, my mother. She mails us this blurry photo of just her fingers as a postcard. On the back, in pencil, she’s scribbled: Living the dream!

Dad lets me keep the photo. I use it as a bookmark, a dreamcatcher, a coaster, wonder if my mother’s fingers are coming or going—hi-di-ho or toodle-loo? Ruby red polish shiny like cherry candy drops. Will the tips taste sweet or bitter if nibbled? I imagine biting off each nail one-by-one so her nails match my own scraggly, chewed-to-the-quick fingers. I spit the pieces across the room.

It’s not unusual for her to take trips, but it’s unusual for her to stay gone so long. I ask my dad this: If a mother leaves the house and never comes back is she still a mother? He says, hand me that wrench.

The places my mother has left are innumerable, but the places she’s arrived never count. So-called fabulous places, far-off, the next always better than the last; what is once a breath of fresh air suddenly sours. This place is all spoiled milk and cavities, she wrote on another postcard from another place. Once in Hollywood, she promises to get a role on one of my favorite TV shows. I’ll make you the envy of all your friends, my mother tells me during a phone call. So I watch and watch and watch, and wait, until the phone rings, until a voice in my head chants pick-up-pick-up-pick-up. I know it’s her but I’m confused; I don’t know if I should say hello or goodbye.

1 comment:

  1. I love this story Allison. As always you evoke such emotion with your prose and tear at my heart with your fluid lyrics. Like a melody of sorrow and pain and yet so relatable. Thank you!


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