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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 14 page 13

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“So all you knew was that he died in a plane crash?”

“Yes, that’s what she told me when I was a kid. She would never answer any questions about him. When I was a little older she just said things didn’t work between them and that she was the only parent I would need. It was not a topic for discussion. Hey, I couldn’t argue with her. She was pretty handy with the strap.”

“You poor kid! What about your grandparents? They never spoke of him?”

“I barely saw them. Mother never let me visit them on my own when I was a kid. She didn’t approve of their lifestyle. Too much drinking and dancing, she said. She had me convinced they were evil and later when I realized how insane she was, I figured out they were just normal people! She stole them from me. Then Grandpa died and Grams moved to Florida but now she has dementia. There are no other relatives that I know of. It was always just us. And God, of course. He figured prominently. No wonder I’m such a heathen. She shoved religion down my throat till I thought I would choke on it.”

“You’re getting off track again.”

“Sorry, Nadia, all this stuff, it just keeps coming out — finally. You’re the only therapist I have.”

“Right, wait till you get my bill. Now focus! You know they were students together in Paris and he was French. Not much to go on,” sighed Nadia.

“That’s nothing to go on! Hell, I would have understood that she messed up. We all mess up, but why did she pretend to be such a saint all these years? I am so pissed off!”

“She must have had her reasons, Claire. You never know what makes people act the way they do. I didn’t really know her but the few times we met, I thought she seemed sweet, if just a little overbearing.”

“A little? Are you kidding me! My whole life, no mark at school was high enough, no friend I picked was good enough, and we won’t talk about boys and sex. I need to be lying down for that session! The first time I ever felt free was leaving home and going to Art College. Studying photography saved me. She never understood me or my passions.”

“Yeah, I know but she was still your mom and probably did the best job she knew how. You need to remember the good times you shared. There were some, right?”

“I guess, it wasn’t all bad. I know that, but this whole business with my father just makes me nuts. I guess I’m just feeling a little lost. Here I am 29 years old, single, childless, and a bastard!”

“Don’t start on that ‘single’ rant again, Claire,” Nadia laughed. “I fixed you up with the most eligible guy in town and you pooh-poohed him like he had a face full of oozing warts. He really liked you too. You’re just too picky!”

“He who shall remain nameless was an egotistical, self-serving dork!” Claire blurted out. “But I appreciate your trying to fix me up!”

“So when are you coming back to work? Do you have a plan?” asked Nadia gently.

“Soon, I guess. Have a bit more thinking to do. I’ll be in touch. Thanks for listening to me rant — again.”

“Hey, you bring drama to my life,” Nadia smiled. I suppose this isn’t the ideal time to mention it, but Gary has an old friend from Carleton coming to town this weekend, and I was thinking...”

Claire covered her ears with her hands. “Not listening, going now, bye-bye!” The women hugged and Claire headed back downtown to her condo, thankful for such a caring friend.

<CONT...>