When I was ten, I told Mother I liked her lavender perfume. I said it made her a real mother.

“What the fuck does that mean?” she said.

That was the first time she yelled like that. I apologized. I meant that the perfume smelled like love. Mother said that was typical. Everyone expected her to love. No one asked what she wanted. Mother wanted to be a singer.

She stopped wearing the perfume. She withdrew into singing lessons. She drank and sang at night. A year later she left, the note reading: “I have gone to love myself.”

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