Nora I stare at myself in Tricia’s mirror. I shouldn’t be here, in her bathroom. She hates when I mess with her things. I feel so awkward in this black dress she made me […]
I stare at myself in Tricia’s mirror. I shouldn’t be here, in her bathroom. She hates when I mess with her things. I feel so awkward in this black dress she made me put on. It’s snug with wide skirts and made of velvet. I run the comb through my light blond hair. I remember telling me how when I was a baby, Tricia thought I was albino and was freaking out. When they divorced I thought I would die being stuck with her. I’m positive the only reason I’m still here to tell the story is Nino, my Maltese dog. Dad got him for me before the divorce. I’ve never seen him since (Dad, not Nino); he died less than a year later and Tricia refuses to tell me how.
“Nora!! What’s taking you so long? Come down here this instant!” A sharp voice from down the steps startles me out of my daydreams. That would be Tricia. She’s technically my Mother but the word couldn’t suit anyone less. She doesn’t have a mothering bone in all of her 207 bones. (She loves to brag about how she was born with an extra one.) Taking one last glance to make sure everything is in order, I scurry down the staircase and into the hall. Tricia awaits me on the Persian carpet by the front door. She surveys me with one eye and I fight the urge to squirm under her hard gaze. Finally she nods curtly, picks up her purse, and walks out the door. I follow behind her. Outside, the twilight air is frosty and I hug my Dad’s old jacket close to me on our way to the Sedan. Of course, I sit in the back, alone with my thoughts. Not that Tricia would have wanted me anywhere near the front anyway. It’s a long way to Flower, WV so we’ve started early in the morning. Does anyone understand silence? How it can be awkward and stiff, but yet bring beautiful peace?
Usually, in my experience, silence is best. I would never lay my problems down on Tricia. For one thing, she is a large portion of my problems, but even if she wasn’t, she isn’t an understanding woman, especially not to me, and she’d probably make things worse. Sometimes purposefully. Anyway, since Dad left, or I guess, I left him, there hasn’t been anyone to talk to. Dad understood my need for silence, but Tricia took him away from me. At least he’s away from her too now. But usually, even when you’re talking to a really nice person, whenever you try to talk to them they jump in, asking you a bunch of questions and steering the conversation the way they want it to go. When that happens I feel like one little drop in their rushing river of conversation, being carried along without any choice. I hate it. So I remain silent. It’s easier without the possibility.
* * *
I open my eyes to see sunlight streaming through the windows of the car. I feel hot and the air is stuffy. I rub my eyes and look around to see… no one
Sophie Levine lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her family. When not writing and reading, she loves hanging out with her brother and making memories together. (He is currently learning to swim!) She specifically enjoys writing poetry, realistic fiction, and essays. Sophie gives credit to her Writopia group, Nora will later meet characters from Caitlyn Levitan’s story and Nora’s story evolves from a group idea.