Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Babette Hughes | The Duchess
Author Guest / May 9, 2011

In the pictures I have of my mother she looks like the Duchess of Windsor. My husband, who didn’t like her, would say, “Uh oh, here comes the Duchess,” when he heard her car in the driveway. Raised in an orphanage, how did my mother come by that royal presence? How could she have been so fragile, and yet accomplish so much in her young widowhood, raising my brother and me? How can she exist so powerfully after she is dead? She seems to have left tracks in my brain like indelible markers that are more than memory, leaking into my present. She died while I was downstairs in the hospital coffee shop drinking a milkshake and leafing through Newsweek. I found her on the floor after her last desperate moment of pride trying to get to the bathroom alone. She was crumpled at the foot of the bed, a terrifying stranger in a hospital gown. I screamed for the nurse who came running. It took the two of us to get her back in the bed where she lay, dignified once again, even in this unbelievable death. In life she didn’t look like anyone’s mother. She was too young-looking,…