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Sometimes I wonder where my mother is and if she would have dressed me in pastels or frilly skirts. My pants have loops for tools that I won’t ever use and my shirts are from Thomas’s closet.


 

On an ordinary day in the beat up Subaru I told my dad about the girls-only dance class at school just to hear the sound of my voice. I said Mrs. Pincher told us sign-up ends on Friday and that we have to have a parent send the forms in if we want to participate. I said, Dad I want to join and he turned his eyes off the road and back at me and said my little girl doesn’t go to dance class. He said my little girl plays real sports like softball or basketball and when does sign-up for those sports end? I said that Mrs. Pincher told us that dancing was a great way for all the fat kids in the school to stay in shape. They thought that canceling pizza day would help some of the girls drop a few but it’s not.

I’m not fat but I’m doughy. On Saturdays when my dad doesn’t work we spend the morning watching TV in bed together. He pinches my rolls and calls me “cupcake” and pretends to lick frosting off my face. Then we go get ice cream for breakfast because it’s what we’ve always done since Thomas died. Sometimes I only want a single scoop but dad orders a double anyway. I always finish it because I know the second scoop is really there for Thomas and I know it makes him angry if I don’t eat it.

Dad said lets go to the car wash, that’ll be fun. It was hot and sticky and beginning to feel like summer. We pulled the car into the wash and hopped on out. He said catch and threw me the keys. They hit the wet cement next to me and I saw him shake his head out of the corner of my eyes. No coordination, he said. We’ll have to work on that.

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Sometimes I wonder where my mother is and if she would have dressed me in pastels or frilly skirts. My pants have loops for tools that I won’t ever use and my shirts are from Thomas’s closet. They smell under the arms and the coloring looks like dog pee against fresh snow. I wonder if my mother would’ve let me join dance class. I wonder if she would’ve wanted me to play baseball.

Dad was done washing the car and said get in kid. I jumped into the backseat and buckled up. I tapped him on the shoulder and said Dad, I don’t understand why I can’t join dance class because it’s free and only after school on Tuesdays. He said Thomas would have been a great baseball player. I tapped him on the shoulder again and said, Dad, I’m not Thomas – I’m not a boy. He turned the radio louder so I shut up and stared out the window at the same houses we’d driven by for the past 12 years.

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