Sport 11: Spring 1993
And then my grandmother on my father’s side, who set out each day with her face so thickly powdered and cushiony soft, the flesh looked like cumulus cloud: for whom it must have been a trial carrying such a face into the world, or into the house where she lived alongside the long red man who cast his intemperate shadow over her like an inflammable veil, her cornflower eyes never far from anxiety.
When she travelled in old age to Paris with her husband, she wrote to me, a child, of the silk scarf she coveted but he would not let her buy. She gave her life to him and watched it dwindle in his hands. I did not mourn her as directly as a bird that died the same year, but her humiliations were graven into me: the scarf, the way we children mocked her when she watered down the apple and orange, the way her face had grown soft, so soft and vague after so much time passed under the scrutiny of her husband—and I have felt the fledgling of her distress flapping in my windpipe.