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Don’t Tell My Mother by Brigitte Bautista
With an overly zealous mother as her guide, 19-year-old Sam has never had a problem navigating through Christian suburbia before. But, all that changes when she befriends and becomes intrigued with Clara, her widowed neighbor and the village’s social outcast.
When their friendship grows into the ‘unnatural’, Sam is forced to examine her upbringing and come to terms with who she really is.
The air isn’t as hot today. It’s just the right kind of warm. From here, I could see the houses below. They’re like fallen stars, some yellow, some white, some burned out. She sits on the garden sofa and gestures me to come sit beside her. We sit apart, at opposite ends. I can’t bring myself to come closer. We look out into the night, instead of trying to make sense of this gulf of upholstery between us. I cradle a sweating glass of Coke in my hand, while she swirls the glass of wine and brings it to her nose.
“Do you ever stop thinking?”, I ask.
“About things. About thinking.”
“What do you mean?”
I wonder if she likes herself when she doesn’t sparkle, when she doesn’t tower over people, when her bandage dress doesn’t hug the curves of her waist like a clingy boyfriend on a third monthsary jealous rage.
“I mean, what do you do when you don’t have to be you?”
She sighs and bites her lower lip. Appearances matter in this tiny, little nowhere town of ours. And, these kinds of conversations are the opposite of keeping appearances. Tension takes hold of her face, but quickly fades away. Her jaw slacks. Her mouth breaks into a grin.
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