Excerpt #1 "Graduation Day"
"You left out Black, Mother. I'm a Black-Jewish woman. That part is always conveniently left off by you and by Grams when you're spouting affirmations, but all I have to do is look in the mirror and I can see the truth as plain as day all over my face. You see it, too. My God, sometimes it's like you can't even look at me, because of how much you see him in my face. Is this why you look through me? Is it?"
"I can't deal with your hysterics today."
"I am not hysterical. I think I'm quite calm, considering the run around I've gotten for the last eighteen years."
"Please get ready to come down for dinner. Your grandmother is having guests and she won't be happy if she has to explain your late appearance at the table."
"I could just not come down at all. She could tell them I'm sick." "Keila, I'm begging you. These social things are important to your grandmother. With everything she does for us, a few social functions aren't a lot to ask."
"Nothing has changed for you, has it? She's still controlling you. Whatever money Grandpa left or whatever secrets she's holding over you can't be worth it. So what, you got pregnant in college. Big whoop! Who didn't?"
"I am not doing this. I know you're working me up on purpose, but I made my choices a long time ago and going over it every time you're in the mood to stir up trouble isn't going to change anything. She's my mother. She was right. I accepted that a long time ago. It would be great if, just once, you could follow my example."
"You mean I should blindly do what you say no matter how it makes me feel. I should be just like you, huh? That's a hard pass. I think I'll be my own woman. I'll ask what I want. I'll feel what I want. And, I won't become her second bird in a gilded cage."
"So disrespectful. Get your attitude together and get yourself downstairs. And, Keila, don't bring this up again."
Turning her back to her mother, Keila waited for the silence to eventually crescendo to the height of discomfort. Then she would hear her mother move across the room and the door shut behind her. It was how these talks always ended. Master avoider, that was the woman who raised her, guided her, and taught her how to deal with the world and she couldn't wait to get away from her and try things in a whole new way.