Magpie in August (an excerpt)

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I hate the day you were born. I said this to Mom once, and she slapped me hard across my face. She never does understand the meaning of things I say. I do hate the day you were born, not because I don’t love you, but because your absence crushes me.

Tomorrow is your eighteenth birthday. Your eighth death-day. I don’t know that you’re aware of birthdays, ordinary days—the passage of time. I don’t know that you’re aware of anything at all, but I talk to you anyway. Do you hear me, Renny? Can you read my thoughts? Do you know how much I hate going to the lake? I would rather visit a quiet green cemetery, where I could deliver flowers and love letters to a grand marble headstone. I know it doesn’t really matter where I go to honor you; you are everywhere I look, yet nowhere to be found. You are no more a part of the water than you would be part of the earth, had you been returned to it. But you didn’t drown in dirt, and I suppose that fact is what makes the difference for me. The lake is evil, and I don’t like to remember you there. I only go for Mom. She doesn’t understand my position at all.

© Kindra M. Austin

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