There are pictures on the wall of a famous actress. She’s been dead a long time. Dead forever. Before you were born; before your mother was.
You ask her why does she like the dead actress so much.
She was so sad, says your mother.
The dead actress was very blonde and very pretty. She had surgery, your mother says, so she would be perfect. That’s how badly she wanted to be loved.
The pictures of the dead actress are always there, even in the dark, when you climb into your mother’s bed after bad dreams. Your mother murmurs and makes room for you under the covers.
In the morning, when you wake to the sound of your mother running the water in the shower, the dead actress smiles at you. You sit up in the bed and reach for the nearest photo and, while your mother is in the shower, you trace the dead actress’s smile with your finger. You trace the outline of her face. You say to her, My mother, at least, loves you, but you know that it doesn’t matter, not to the dead actress.
Photo collage of Marilyn Monroe, courtesy of Fashion Tag