TITLE: Any Day But
GENRE: Young Adult
Around our house you had to be careful where you put your feet. Mom’s stacks of magazines had begun in the living room in organized piles, but now they spread like a cancer: down the hallway, into the kitchen, up the stairs to the door of my bedroom. Everywhere I walked, there they were. I picked my way down the stairs, squeezed through the kitchen door, and stepped over the pile at my feet so that I could stand in the same room as my mother.
Even then, after all that effort, she still didn’t notice me.
She sat at the table with her reading glasses on top of her head, her hair hanging in greasy tendrils down either side of her face. She chewed on the end of her ballpoint pen, her bathrobe drooping open so I could see the strap of her black bra. I tried to ignore the fact that our entire counter top was layered in two week’s worth of dirty dishes. I made a mental note to call the dishwasher repairman tomorrow. Mom would never get around to it.
I took a deep breath. “Mom, have you—”
“I’m right here, Thia. You don’t have to yell.” She fished a glowing cigarette from the ashtray at her elbow.
I knew I hadn’t been yelling. I always used a relaxed voice on Mom on mornings when I suspected she might have a hangover. “Did you see a pink envelope? It’s gone from where I left it.”