I never realized that my city and my mom shared the same initials until almost a year after she died. And it’s weird to me because I used to forge her signature a lot, so you think I might have noticed once I moved to Brooklyn and started incorporating BK into my personal vernacular. You know, as in:
“So, Susan where do you live?”
“BK, yo. What’s up?”
I say forge because that’s the technical term, but Mom knew I did it. She was actually pretty impressed with my ability to copy other people’s signatures as it reflected that a little part of her was inside of me. For many years after we moved to Fitzgerald, Mom worked as a legal secretary and part of her job was to be able to sign the attorney’s names for them. That way she could type, process and file court documents without ever having to bother a lawyer. It was an efficient way of handling the routine clients, if not the most ethical practice when it came to operating a law firm.
To save time at home, Mom handed her personal signature duties over to me. She let me sign my own report cards, initial tests and notes from my teachers, write my own absence excuses, and I filled out and signed her checks when I needed to get cash. I naturally had a similar writing style to Mom, but there were a few letters that I had to work at to get. I remember practicing her signature over and over at my grandma’s dining room table to get the capital B and K just right. Mom would see my notebooks and give me feedback on my progress. “Oh, this one’s pretty good,” or, “See here?” taking the pen from my hand and demonstrating, “The K’s actually more like this.”
I got really good at imitating Mom’s handwriting and took care of all the paperwork duties until I finished college and was no longer asked for my mom’s information along with my own on official documents. After that, I never really needed the skill again. But still, more than ten years later when I sign my own name, I sometimes slip and use Mom’s capital K.
Now that she’s gone, I can’t see or write or say BK without thinking of her. And now that I’m in the throes of DPC Year Two, I can barely type this sentence because I keep breaking down and sobbing after every fourth word. Sigh. I miss her, you guys.
What really sucks about missing her, besides the non-stop breakdown-o-rama that has become my life, is there’s such a huge part of me that knows I never really had her to begin with — at least not in the way I needed her. And now that she’s gone, I know for sure that it’s never going to happen.