A Teaser from Birth Road by Michelle Wamboldt
When I got home, I took the ribbon from my pocket and wrapped it around my fingers. It was soft and pretty. I owned nothing like it. Mother was busy baking in the kitchen. I quietly went to her room and propped the mirror up on her dresser. I tied the ribbon around my hair as I had seen Madge do. It wouldn’t stay in place and slid beneath my wiry curls.
“You’ll never be like her.”
My mother stood behind me in the doorway. I could see her in the mirror. “You’ll never be good enough for them,” she said. “She’s in God’s pocket, that Madge. And you and I, well, we’ll never be there. Everything will always go her way, you just wait and see.” Our eyes met in the round glass and we held each other’s stare. “Get to the laundry.” She turned and went back down the stairs.
I looked at myself as Madge had earlier that morning, searching for something but unsure what that something was. I took the ribbon from my hair and put it back in my pocket. I thought of the mean old battleaxe from the mill, looking me over like I was trash, and Madge’s mother saying they were visiting friends. I felt the satin ribbon in my pocket and I hated my mother for saying such things. Maybe Boston will be better, I thought with a sudden longing for my father.