Annuities

visualparadox.com

Somewhere, there is a person with my maiden name who has a structured settlement.  I receive her mail– it arrives in express envelopes, making me think it’s something relevant that begs my attention, others come in the form of neon postcards.  They all say the same: Sara Lotze, please call us to collect your structured settlement.  My parents receive multiple phone calls per day and tell the structured settlement companies that Sara Lotze isn’t me, that I’m not receiving any money.   And it’s true, I’m not.

Never mind that my name is spelled with an ‘h.’  Or that my married name is Cedeno.  What if I call these companies to collect?  What if I, Sara Lotze, collect on someone else’s tragedy?  Some sort of pain and suffering settlement? Or a wrongful death lawsuit?  A civil case where I am the plaintiff and am missing my right arm or my nose?  It almost seems as if multiple companies insist that I accept these funds.

Sure, I would have to know Sara Lotze’s SSN at the very least, but can’t I wonder?

Perhaps I am owed some insane amount of money.    My son, John, who asks for his old daycare friends Henry, Jaysen, and Lincoln on a daily basis, could return to the center he bumbled and fell and swung at because the more-than-my-mortgage-payment tuition would no longer be too much to handle.

And I would have time to hole up in my purple study and write.  Expanses of time, because my mom would quit her job at the balmy campus cafe to watch my four-month-old spit and giggle and adore.  I could pay her more than her job where there are no windows for her to gaze from, in the basement of a building that is beautiful outside and on the floors above. Her little legs would carry her, an arm outstretched and dangling a cigarette, far far away from the cafe.

I could cancel classes on the days my ms boggles my thoughts and my speech or the days when I feel like the world is a scary enough place to want to stay home.  I could be the kind of lazy I always wanted to be if I’d had the courage.  Dishes would pile up in my farmer’s sink until I paid someone to come wash them.  I would not shudder to leave the knife from my son’s peanut butter sandwich for longer than a half-hour because I wouldn’t have to clean it.  My husband would pretend I inject the medication that shields my brain like Teflon because he would have a check, a fat check that blames the disease and absolves me of self-destruction.

Maybe, just maybe, I could be Sara Lotze.

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About Sarah Cedeño

Sarah Cedeño received her BA and MA in Creative Writing from SUNY-Brockport, and her MFA in fiction from Goddard College. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Hippocampus Magazine, The Bellevue Literary Review, Literary Mama, and Redactions. She lives in Brockport with her husband and two sons and teaches writing at SUNY-Brockport. View all posts by Sarah Cedeño

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