We’re freshmen—fourteen, fifteen. Two weeks living away from our mothers and we think we’re women now.
Our new school’s all slate-roofed, dust-scented brick buildings, white paint layered thick on wood window trim. Poplars and oaks planted in rows, kudzu-gobbled maintenance building out back. Generations of girls have learned here—first few batches true belles for sure, all hoop skirts and ringlets, corsets and parasols.
[Nomination: Pushcart Prize] [Nomination: Best Small fictions]
Billie bought her first tube of eye cream at twenty-two. Too young? Well, maybe. But when your botoxed, microdermabraded, laser-resurfaced mother slips you that slow scrutinizing look of hers, lets it slide down the length of her poreless nose, tries to squint but can’t and finally says, Ooh honey you might wanna start using a good eye cream—how do you stop the subsequent spiral?
I’m getting worked up again feeling that snaky rustle in my ears that electricity down in the roots of my teeth and the jangling rhythm of my poor old heart so I press my palms together like a prayer braid my fingers press until my arms shake and quiver and Susan’s saying something but I can’t hear her over the roar of that serpent crashing through brown dried leaves and pine straw just writhing around and raring back fangs dripping. . .