Christina Dalcher

“He shoulders past me, pours himself a glass of milk from the fridge, and downs it. “Of course you don’t just get them, Mom. You have to earn them.” “I see. And how does that happen?” Another glass of milk disappears down Steven’s gullet. “Save some for cereal tomorrow,” I say. “You’re not the only human in this house.” “Maybe you should go out and get another carton, then. It’s your job, right?” My hand flies with a will of its own, makes contact; and a bright palm print blooms on the right side of Steven’s face. He doesn’t flinch, doesn’t raise his own hand, doesn’t react at all, except to say, “Nice, Mom. Real nice. One day, that’s gonna be a crime.” “You little shit.” He’s smug now, which makes everything worse. “I’ll tell you how I earned the pin. I got recruited. Recruited, Mom. They needed volunteers from the boys’ school to make the rounds to the girls’ schools and explain a few things. I accepted. And for the past three days, I’ve been going out in the field and demonstrating how the bracelets work. Look.” He pushes up one sleeve and brandishes the burn mark around his wrist. “We go in pairs, and we take turns. All so girls like Sonia know what will happen.” As if to defy me once more, he drains his glass of milk and licks his lips. “By the way, I wouldn’t encourage her to pick the sign language back up.” “Why the hell not?” I’m still trying to absorb the fact that my son has purposefully shocked himself “so girls like Sonia know what will happen.” “Mom. Honestly. You of all people should get it.” His voice has taken on the timbre of someone much older, someone tired of explaining how things are. “Signing defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to do here.”

Christina Dalcher, Vox
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Vox Vox by Christina Dalcher
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