This evening my mother and I went through some of the things Brenda left behind in the storage bench when she died. Everything neglected, yellowing, ten to twenty years old. Music notation, folders for a defunct band, rejection letters from Island Records and Virgin, acres of her hand-writing, pages upon pages that she touched with her hands. The dust made me sneeze and created a film on the top of our shared cup of acai tea.
We found black & white photos of her, hair teased, badly posed, her lips coated in an 80’s shade of lipstick, impossible to name, improbable anyway. When I think of her, I think of her sitting at the table she had in her front yard, singing jazz while she chopped organic vegetables for soup, or dressed as a beautiful wood elf for Hallowe’en, almost androgynous, a knife at her belt and two streaks of pale bronzer slashed across her cheeks in the colour of fake ivy, a sparkling green. I was too young to remember her as the rocker wannabe, even though I recognize her in the pictures. Her smile is the same, and her bones.