“I got these for you,” my mom said. She chucked a bag of Laffy Taffy at my sister.
I looked through the sliding glass door, but it was dark again. All I could see was my own stupid face. All I could see was the money and time we had spent, the things we had said that we could never unsay. All I could see was the ways I was like her.
Mom opened a bedside drawer. She retrieved a bag of carrots stored next to a Bible.
“I want to show you something.”
She pulled the sliding glass door open. I followed her onto a balcony into the punishing cold. We were a few feet off the ground, overlooking a meadow. Packed snow covered the ground, pocked with hoof prints.
“Look,” she said, pointing.
Standing at the forest line, like a mirage, were two fawns.
Deer were not exotic. There were so many in New Jersey that they had become a public nuisance. Still, I was mesmerized by the way they approached us — slowly, deliberately.
Emma joined us on the balcony.
Where is their mother? I wondered. The fawns drew close enough that I could see their spots.
“You can feed them by hand,” my mom said. “They’re very trusting.”
She tossed a handful of carrots, and her gentleness bent time, dilated it just wide enough that I could peer into the future. There, she stood beside me under the California sun, cradling one of my babies. Humbled, but upright. Taken apart and rebuilt, plank by plank.
Palm outstretched, she said: “If anything beautiful can come of this, write about it.”
Kate Brody is the author of the novel “Rabbit Hole.” She lives in Los Angeles.