A long time ago I made a promise to my dear friend Rose Cabot. She has emerged, not unscathed, from a childhood living in one foster home after another. On a rainy day when I thought I could cure a rainy day I promised her I would write a story about a foster child. I didn't want to know the details of her reality. It was more than the FDA's daily recommended daily dose of pain to hear the story of her typical birthday celebration-not on her real birthday, but added on as an afterthought when the "real child" in the family had a birthday. I was soon over my head and very little was falling off of it on to paper. I got stuck, unstuck and one day I had to put the story down. I had painted myself into a too odd corner. Then in the middle of the night after a hectic day I woke up in the middle of the night with the rest of the story in my head. I wrote it down as fast as possible through the dawn hours. I don't have that kind of energy anymore. I continue to write stories but get tired at the computer-it is a snail's life now for me. I have been fortunate-two books published and I know how lucky I am, but I always felt that this one story should have had a chance to be read-not only for this Rose, but for all the roses that never survived the harsh winters of this world. So now at least it is on a professionally recorded cd with a disc cover of Rose as a child waiting for her when she comes up this weekend. "Edith Rose"-71 minutes. So on the scales of give and take are we even? No, it can never be.
Years ago my brother was with us in Maine for a short stay-dying before our eyes-- refusing to see a doctor-him dying--friendless--legs oozing-Rose washing them--legs I couldn't look at--more than enough cleaning the bloody piss off the bathroom floor. He said to her. "Rose, you are a friend" New strange words from him--never heard before or after. A little while later back in New York they talked late at night. He promised not to take his life on her birthday. He waited until after midnight for her--to keep her birthday free of at least one lousy memory. Why am I telling you this story? Because Rose is a real pain the ass-always with that way too needy heart needing to be told by her friends that they really do love her. Rose, listen closely. I really do love you.