The deer eats winter vegetation at the periphery of my yard. Occasionally, she flicks her tail, stops, and then stares forward and I could swear she is watching me. I drop my breakfast dishes into the sink to soak and continue staring out the kitchen window in admiration while I finish my coffee.
Ten minutes later, I grab my cane and head outside, wishing for the hundredth time that I owned an attached garage. I'm quiet about backing my car down the drive — just in case she is still enjoying breakfast, though I suspect she has gone. Her visits are frequent but brief. On Thanksgiving I had the feed store leave her a bale of hay and for Christmas I've ordered a block of salt. I'm on my own, and so is she. That's quite a bond.
What do you see when you look at us? It's all a matter of perception.
My mother thinks I'm her fairy. Her magic fairy. Her memory fairy. Her wonderful can do anything fairy. Bubble wands and fairies. they seem to go together. So maybe my mother's right. Others don't see my fairy–ness; they see other things. The leg brace. The cane. The hand that won't cooperate.
We're together for the first time in five years. Three sisters. Terry, the oldest, pastes us together with persistence and illusion. She believes we can be a family, that we are a family. Julie, the youngest, bites her lower lip and wears a worried brow, even while driving her red Miata with the top down to her job as a South Florida city planner. And me, in the middle. I moved to Connecticut almost twenty years ago to cut free from my tangled roots, I thought. I know that my illness (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) structures my life in a way my family must find limiting, and that my writing aspirations might seem paltry and a little suspect. So when I return Upstate to the barren terrain on chilly Lake Ontario, where my neuroses and fears were planted, watered, and pruned, I take their suspicions as truth. I feel I've failed.