TITLE: HOUSE OF THISTLES
GENRE: Women's Fiction
It wasn't a tradition I enjoyed, but Maxine, my sister, insisted on keeping up the rituals of family gatherings. So I drove to her house for our brother’s birthday lunch. Her driveway wasn’t paved, but dirt packed down in grooves from the tires. Live oaks lined both sides, casting shadows across a yard that tried in places to stay green through the patches of sunlight. I turned to Harley as the car idled.
Her face reminded me of something a lab technician I once worked with said to me years ago. She had two beautiful biracial children, the perfect pairing of a son and a daughter. My co-worker had strawberry-blonde hair with a light smattering of freckles against her pale skin, and her husband was one of the best nephrologists I had the pleasure of knowing. But the woman said something strange to me not long after I took in a scared seven-year-old little girl—a gift to me from a childhood friend. She told me that when she looked at her children, she didn’t see the color of their skin. She only saw them. I had wondered if that was how I would see my daughter, Harley, as she grew from a child who peeked around corners at me to one who would eventually accept me as her mom.
Eight years later, I still couldn’t see how any mother could not notice how her daughter’s pink highlights framed the smooth, milk-chocolate skin or the gentle slope of her nose.