Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.

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Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Discerning Eye (continued)

Emily does not try to contact me. I don't know what to do about her. The truth is I welcome her silence, and so do nothing.

I work on Astrid II, on the intact side of the Revenge soldier's face. Emily drew until she was sixteen, until Papa's insanity ruled our house and she gave way to Mother. The extent of her ability lies uncharted, a once clear path now overgrown with middle class trappings. She fears madness and so stifles herself. As if repression were ever a successful method of dismissing the truth.

Not that we were ever close. Even before she stopped artmaking she lived closer to the surface. She could better negotiate the world, its arcana governing how a Valley girl dressed and walked and talked. She hung out with other movie industry children, affecting the correct amounts of disdain, ignoring the Mexican maids who carried trays of Coca-Cola out to the pool. I could never deal with any of it, peeling palm trees, blistering Santa Anas, the dirty freeways choked with cars and smog. I always knew I would leave, that my existence in Southern California was an accident requiring correction. Though ultimately my family imploded like something out of a Joan Didion essay, something peculiarly Californian, and now only Emily is left.

continued

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