The Crazing of the Lagniappe

For her birthday her sister sends her a ring, a prim opal girded in diamonds on prongs, the sort of girlish jewel a wallflower might press against her teeth when called upon to answer embarrassing questions posed by nurse practitioners, the sort of gem their mom once wore when, blushing, she lowered her finger to the lip of her wineglass to trace discomfited circles around the rim as if to lasso those words—bosom, buttock, any bodily function—she couldn’t bring herself, at forty, to speak aloud at the dinner table. Mom was a prude. Or so you would think. Mom thought so too, until once on a walk along Murdoch Avenue, a walk that took the two women, mother and daughter, away from the lake but then back toward the lake too quickly again, since Mom, at sixty, preferred to walk for no longer than twenty-five minutes during any twenty-four-hour period lest she be too tired to sleep that night, a truth was revealed.

“I’ve never said this before it takes me a day with my grown married daughter to figure it out I always wished he was more passionate your dad in bed a more passionate lover I mean he is timid too shy he doesn’t bear down in bed like the men do in movies he is always polite thanks for turning around I know you prefer taking much longer walks I’m not tired yet but I will be soon he wasn’t passionate with me even when we were young he never bore down like they do in movies I never knew before today how much I wanted that but not anymore it would make me too tired to sleep at night but still I regret it.”

This delivered in a torrent of once-unutterable words, words that when the younger sister tells the older sister, Syl, the judge, via telephone, about that walk on Murdoch Avenue, will be declared inadmissible.

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