GENRE: YA Magical Realism
If you could speak to your stepsister, what would you say?
I reread the reply to my post on the Selective Mutism support message board for a third time. Across from me, Jessica flipped a page in her Cosmo magazine. My fingers hovered over the keyboard, waiting for my brain to come up with a response to Ursula89’s question.
My original post had been buried under eleven months worth of parents bragging about their children’s single word responses to teachers’ questions. Ursula89 must have had a lot of time on her tentacles to scroll through them all and comment on my plea for help. If she could do that, I could come up with an answer.
The train conductor came up the aisle before I figured one out. He stopped at the table Jessica and I had taken over on the way out of Hartford. “Getting close to Penn Station, girls. Better start packing up.” Jessica nodded without glancing up, so I got his intrigued smile. That wouldn’t have mattered, if he hadn’t followed it up with words. Always words. “You know, you two’ve sure got a lot of luggage for a day’s shopping. Whatcha heading into the city for?”
We’re spending the summer, I thought. Of course, the words didn’t come. I tried to part my lips. Blowing air through them would be step one, the way my therapist had tried to teach me a hundred times. My mouth stayed shut, like I’d applied a layer of Gorilla Glue instead of lipgloss.