An excerpt from Matthew Quick’s “The Good Luck of Right Now” will be released by HarperCollins on Feb. 11.
Dear Mr. Richard Gere,
In Mom’s underwear drawer — as I was separating her “personal” clothes from the “lightly used” articles I could donate to the local thrift shop — I found a letter you wrote.
As you will recall, your letter was about the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing, China — you were advocating for a boycott because of the crimes and atrocities the Chinese government committed against Tibet.
I’m not one of those “crazy types.”
I immediately realized that this was a form letter you sent out to millions of people through your charitable organization, but Mom was a good enough pretender to believe you had personally signed the letter specifically to her, which is most likely why she saved it — believing you had touched the paper with your hands, licked the envelope with your tongue — imagining the paper represented a tangible link to you . . . that maybe a few of your cells, microscopic bits of your DNA, were with her whenever she held the letter and envelope.
Mom was your biggest fan, and a seasoned pretender.
“There’s his name written in cursive,” I remember her saying to me, poking the paper with her index finger. “From Richard Gere! Movie star RICHARD GERE! ”
Mom liked to celebrate the little things. Like finding a forgotten wrinkled dollar in a lint-ridden coat pocket, or when there was no line at the post office and the stamp sellers were up for smiles and polite conversation, or when it was cool enough to sit out back during a hot summer — when the temperature dips dramatically at night even though the weatherman has predicted unbearable humidity and heat, and therefore the evening becomes an unexpected gift.
“Come enjoy the strange cool air, Bartholomew,” Mom would say, and we’d sit outside and smile at each other like we’d won the lottery.
Mom could make small things seem miraculous. That was her talent.