(really there ain’t enough soap in the world to wash this away) letter to my daughter

“Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears…”

Proverbs 31 MSG


Nadia, my sweet,

When Nada died, she cleaned house. Floors swept, counters scrubbed, cupboards bare. She didn’t leave a trace, not a single crumb, and we, her children, staggered around such empty rooms—hungry.

Snickerdoodle, Una La Nadia, Nad Squad, baby—I don’t mean to do that to you. But, it’s hard to undo years so way back of women sweeping and tidying up all the grubby, natty, stained-from doorknob-to-doorknob precious homes full of well-tended rooms. 

I try not to pick up their buckets and scrub brushes. But, I must admit, I do delight in buckets filled with piney, steaming-hot suds ready to muck it all out, wash it all away. 

Last night, when Auntie called and knocked over my carefully arranged life filled with tightly sealed containers from my past, and I saw that you saw them leaking that stain—so vile and garish in our pretty little room with the fire going—you saw it spread and seep into the carpet. And, forgive me when you saw me quickly fall to my knees and scrub it clean using every trick in the book—neutralizing it with acid, blotting and not rubbing getting at it before it had a chance to sink in, dry and remain forever. 

Forgive me baby, I’m such a shallow mommie. I know, I know. The teapots on display next to the pretty books all in a row, next to the tier of sweetly stacked pink and white dishes and the pillows all fluffed and plumped are all in vain. And, I am so sorry, love, that you won’t get to swipe your finger through the dust on the mantel and be assured that true, dark things, mysterious things, maybe even horrific things happened here. And, on those days, you were happy even still.


Marcie Walker