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of a drinker—I saw too much of it at work—but I was craving alcohol, and I brought the bottle back to the living room, pouring us two glasses. By the time Sam had raised his glass to toast me, I’d already drunk mine down and poured a second. I examined his old man’s face, the folds of flesh, the dark hairs on his bulbous nose. His skin hung on him like a bigger man’s suit. He cleared his throat. “I’ll admit I feel responsible for your sister,” he said. “I was supposed to look after her, but I couldn’t be there every minute. She kept late hours, and I’m not as young as I used to be.” There was a pause in which he waited for me to say it wasn’t his fault, and I didn’t. “Nicole is a wonderful girl,” he went on. “But troubled as you know. In the past two years she’d been badgering your father for information about your mother. She wanted to find her.” I remembered the printout she’d shown me, the list of names and addresses. “Your father told her he didn’t know where she went, but that’s not entirely true.” “What do you mean it’s not entirely true?” He poured another shot and drank it. I took another too, which was more than I usually ever had. I didn’t feel drunk, though, just flushed with an anger I didn’t know where to direct—at my father, my sister, the car that had hurt her and then disappeared. “I mean it’s not true at all,” he said. “Three years ago your father came to me and asked me to track your mother down. For you girls’ sake. And for his own, too. So I did.” “You found her?” I had always thought of our mother’s disappearance as magical and complete. In my mind she’d reinvented herself so thoroughly thatthe transformation was irreversible. She owned a bar in Mexico and went by the name Dolores. She lived on a pot farm in the mountains and made millions, which she kept under the baseboards because she didn’t trust banks. She was the wife of a gangster or a cult leader and everybody called her Mia. (Her real name, which she’d always hated, was Gwen.) Sitting on Sam Postelthwaite’s brown tweed sofa, whiskey in my veins, I couldn’t bring myself to ask him where she was. “She died, Amber,” he said. “She died five years ago. She had a hard life after she left here, I think, though I don’t know the whole story. She was involved with drugs and, well, things caught up with her after a while, I guess.” My anger was a furnace inside me, glowing with impossible heat. I put down the glass of whiskey because I was afraid I might shatter it. I looked at my shoes. “Here,” his voice said. He was holding out a photograph of a woman I didn’t recognize. She had my mother’s eyes but her hair was blond and frizzy and her appearance was one of disturbed neglect. Her teeth were dark with rot. In the picture, she was wearing a blue dress and smiling sloppily at the Windmill 67

Profile for Hofstra University

Windmill - December 2016  

The Hofstra Journal of Literature and Art

Windmill - December 2016  

The Hofstra Journal of Literature and Art

Profile for hofstra