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“I take it you have had your toy lion, Lionel,  for a while?” Charlie asked.

“Jay gave him to me when I was four,” I replied.

“And Jay is?”

“My dad.”

“You call your dad by his Christian name?” Charlie sounded surprised.

I tried to think about how Jay had become Jay instead of Dad, but I couldn’t remember.

“And this?” he asked.

“Blankie,” I said, taking her too.

“Given to you?”

“By Mom.”

“Mom being Mom?” he asked.


I watched his eyes sweep the room. I was not ready for him to see so much. I hadn’t planned that we would end up here. Charlie’s eyes stopped on the picture of Susie and me hugging inside a crystal frame. “Your sister?” Charlie asked.

“My best friend,” I replied. Our matching turquoise bracelets were visible from where our arms were thrown over each other’s shoulders.

“She’s back next week. She wants to meet you,” I told him.

“She knows about me,” I asked.

I nodded.

“All about me?”

I was embarrassed.

“Hmmm…” he said, picking up the photo to examine Susie more closely.

[Excerpt Landslide, Pages 65-66]

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