The Girl Who Went Away

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The Girl Who Went Away

by Minrose Gwin
Southern Cultures, Vol. 22, No. 3: 21c Fiction Issue

“There is one thing I haven’t told.”

After I came home from going away and the Russians decided not bomb us into smithereens, Dad said it was time for me to go back to school. I didn’t need urging. My old life, BC, Before Child, my humdrum, what-are-we-going-to-have-for-supper life, had begun to seem like a pair of serviceable shoes that had been stolen by a thief in the night. Now that they had magically reappeared on the floor of my closet, I was eager to step back into them, not because I was preparing to have a good life, a regular life; I’d long ago lost any hope of that when my mother went and did what she did, leaving her dead and us high and dry. (This, I will add, was why I didn’t go out into the county and get some backwoods “chiropractor” to hack up my insides the way she’d done.) But now that I was home and had to stare at what had been Daniel’s house across the street every day, I felt even worse than I had when I was mopping floors at the Virginia Spenser School for Girls. At Virginia Spenser, I’d been lost in a fog, everything gray and indistinct; at home, the sun came out and I saw what I had lost. I needed to get busy, I needed to get moving.