Letter #3: PG


I remember you could whistle through your fingers. It was a harsh sound – very loud and very shrill. I associate it, and you, with the YMCA soccer fields. They were famous for having once been a dump. On certain days when the wind blew northeast—rare days—one could catch a nose-full of decay and waste. Your whistle is tethered to that smell. I remember a kiosk that sold Gatorade and soft drinks and your whistle, disembodied, originating from that place, and blasting out over the fields. And I remember you on the sidelines of every soccer match, akimbo, shouting at the ref. You were spirited, people would say, or passionate, attempting politeness.

Phyllis, I remember you as a short woman, with close-cropped hair and zero percent body fat. I remember you in a Notre Dame coat, a size or two too big for you, the kind popular in the 90s, and shabby jeans, looking like you were about to clean your house, or weed your garden – anything but appear in public. But I only ever saw you in public. You didn't seem to have a sense of shame. People considered you a pain in the ass. I think you liked it. There was the sense that everything you did you did for your children, for your family. In this way people liked you as you were. You were likable.