At that point, I helped my mother look for a dress.
(“Where’d she lose it?” Ha! Ha! I’m sorry, I disgust myself sometimes.)
I don’t wear dresses much these days, but I know enough about them, and enough about my mother, to earn my keep.
(I wasn’t getting paid. I don’t know what that says about my keep.)
She says I have good taste.
“Yes, well, sometimes,” I say.
From across the room, we both see it:
A little peach number, coquettishly rendered in gathered hammered silk.
She digs it.
I do too.
But when she examines the back, her face drops, drops like she just found out that Santa Claus and Love and A Cure For The Common Cold, none of them exist.
Because it’s the sheerest pale pink organza, on which a handful of crystals has been scattered with the care and expertise of a gambler’s toss.
“You can see right through it,” she says, crestfallen.
For those of you who don’t know (which should be all of you, and correct me if I’m wrong, here), my mother’s back is covered in the most wonderful, wonderful collection of freckles and birthmarks and beauty marks and moles.
Those freckles are the very reason that I thought the dress was perfect.
“…everyone will see them.”
“That’s exactly why it’ll look so beautiful, Mom.”
I’m at the doctor’s office a lot these days.
Like last week, for instance.
I was wearing a dress, for once.
This one was scandalously open in the back, and blue, and made of paper.
Courtesy of the doctor.
I didn’t think that we were at the gift-giving stage of our relationship yet, but those in the medical profession tend to move fast, I’ve heard.
On my back, her hands were small, like mine. Cold, like mine, too.
“Have you ever gotten these freckles checked out?”
“Does skin cancer run in your family?”
“No, but my mom has a bunch of moles like these.”
“On her back?”
“Ah ha. See a dermatologist.”
And she was concerned, because, when she sees freckles, she sees potentially cancerous blemishes.
But when I see them, I see every woman on my mom’s side of the family.
I guess you could say that I’ve got my mother’s back.
Yes. I’ve got my mother’s back.