Notes from the Summer I Was Fourteen

I lay on my bed in the light-filled attic rooms Grammie has converted for us so we feel welcome (and safe?).  Grammie fashioned our curtains and duvets, likeMerian Maria pomegranate Scarlett’s dress, from the curtains in the back bedroom that no one uses anymore.  They look like a painting, the bright pink and green passionflowers and pomegranate climbing the wall and the length of our beds.  But like Scarlett, we are lying.  It isn’t normal here and this isn’t our home.

Downstairs, Mom yells.  She yells all the time now.  We don’t know what about; we’d rather stay up here with our radio set to the station that plays Nirvana and Soundgarden, masking everything but the sun streaming through the window.  I am fourteen, not old enough to be reading the romance novel with the red and gold cover.  Not old enough to read the paper bag full of them that sits next to my bed.  But this is how I get through my summer.  This is how I have always gotten through.

Mom hasn’t always been a yeller.  But she’s different now.  She hasn’t said – or even yelled – “I love you, ” in years, and this Mom may be here to stay.

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