We had another discussion - can I call it a fight? No, because it wasn't. It was things rising to the surface, things long-buried coming to light. I've been walking on ice since Millie made her decision, terrified that she'd lash out - probably unreasonably, and she's probably right to blame me for not talking. You hope by letting it lie, it'll go away, heal over and blow past, but it doesn't seem to work that way.
I know Millie will never be like my mother when I see her with Isabel. No matter what, she loves her. Whatever excuses my father made for my mother, he never managed fool anyone but himself into believing she loved anything - and even then, I'm not sure he bought it all the time.
But I can tell myself over and over that that was long ago, that she was crazy, that it wasn't me - that I didn't cause it, that I didn't provoke it, and yet, ever since, I've lived my life with one foot out the door, ready to go.
I've heard that people with acute acrophobia will, if near a ledge or a cliff, become so terrified of falling that they'll actually jump. I understand that, I really do. You have to know that fear in the pit of your stomach, that impending rush of the coming fight that you can't stop.
I have to stop it, here, now. Isabel won't be like that, but I don't want that between Millie and me. I need to tell her... that this is the bad season, the cold November of the soul more than most for me.
::On the back of the lone photograph of Mike's parents are their names and the dates of their births and deaths. His mother's reads "Nancy Dolan Logan 4-12-1937 to 11-1-83"::
Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; they're all that's left you