#25 – Marie’s Diary January 8, 2011

Dear Diary,

There are so many things I want to share with you that I feel like my head might explode. Mom is truly gone, now. Now I’m just sitting here staring at the words. I missed the last three months of her life because of my foolishness. When she passed away, I was holding her hand. I could feel her life just slip away. It was so quiet. One moment she was alive and then next she was gone. Dead. I’m going to write it. She was dead. There was something almost beautiful about it. I can’t explain that to you, Diary. What could you possibly know about death?

And now I’m truly alone in the world. All I have left is you and Toonces, and you’re not really there. You’re just some silly book that I write in. And who am I now? I’m not pretty. I’m not good at my job. I live alone with a cat. I’m not anyone’s daughter. I’m nobody.

There’s Jeff, but he’s meant for someone else. Should I take him up on his offer for a drink? I just don’t know. What would it be like to be in his arms? Would he hold me tight? Would he hold me all night if I asked him? Would I be a bad person for letting him? I would do anything to stop feeling so lonely.

The next thing I have to say is going to sound so strange. The funny little man from the library was in my mother’s room when she died. He was singing to her. And he had his little notebook doing whatever he’d been doing with my sweater at the library. I was ready to call the police. I cannot even begin to express how creeped out I felt when I saw him there. I’d already told him to stay away from me. I didn’t even know what to say. But he had sung to her. He was there when she died. If I hadn’t come, he might have been the only person who was there for her in her last moments. So who is the monster here? Him or me?

I asked him why he was there. I asked him if he was stalking me? I told him that I had every right to call the police. But he was shy. He didn’t say anything at first. He just stared at his feet and at his notebook. He didn’t look like a bad person. Just a small, shy man with glasses.

He said, “I didn’t know she was your mother. I have a mother, too. I visit the women here because of my experiments. I don’t mean them any harm. You wouldn’t understand. No one ever does.”

“What kind of experiments?” I asked him.

“I collect smells. I just wanted to know how it smells when someone dies. And your mother was lonely here by herself. I didn’t think anyone would care if I visited her.”

“And what did it smell like?” I asked. And this was the strangest part.

He glanced at his notebook for a second. Then closed his eyes and began to speak as if he were in a trance or something. “It was the most delicate smell I have ever collected,” he said. “It was like the smell of a February snow before it ever hits the ground, the smell of a lilac after being pressed between the pages of a book for 20 years, and the smell of the moment just before sleep when your first dream begins its story.”

Then he put on his coat and took his notebook and left.

It was the strangest thing.

Until next time,

Marie

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