Her name was Page

Her name was Page, my mom. And I think she was probably one of the nicest people on earth. That’s what everyone kept telling me after her funeral. For months after she was killed, people would come up to my dad on the street or in the grocery store or even at work at the fire station, and tell him that she was the nicest person on earth. They didn’t have to tell us that. We already knew.

It got so hard to hear that all the time and to be reminded of it all the time. I’d finally have a day where I felt OK and wasn’t thinking about my mom and Zoey every second, maybe even laughing at one of my dad’s super- dumb jokes, and then we’d run into somebody again who felt like they were doing the right thing by saying something nice about her. And then my dad and I would both be sad again for the rest of the day. That’s why we finally moved.

We moved from Lovington, where my dad grew up and where he and my mom fell in love in high school, to Albuquerque, where we didn’t know anybody. It was good and bad. It was a big city. It was nice to pretend we were just normal guys. At first, no one questioned that it was just the two of us. So many kids’ parents are divorced or whatever that it wasn’t weird to anybody that I didn’t have a mom. My dad got a job with the fire department in Albuquerque and things kind of felt normal. But it was lonely, especially at dinnertime.

Dinnertime was always fun because my mom was a legendary cook. In addition to great food, there was always lots of laughter at the dinner table. Now it’s just me and my dad and it’s quiet. It’s so quiet, that we started eating out a lot just so we’d have the noise of other people around us. We figured we’d make friends sooner or later.

But then kids at school found out what had happened in Lovington. It was a pretty famous case and was on the news all over the state when it happened.   And even though it was almost a year before we moved to Albuquerque, word travels fast because of the internet. This was even before everybody had a smartphone. But once one person knew, everyone seemed to know.

So dad and I were pretty much alone for a while. I missed my mom then. And I still do now. I wish I could talk to her about everything, about this freaky premonition stuff and about normal everyday stuff. Like whether or not Noah and I should go skiing in Taos. Or whether I should ask Madison out. Little stuff. And I’d give anything for one more of her chicken pot pies.


Benito BarcenasHer name was Page

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