|Zosha is thirteen, old enough to know one thing. “I’m never having kids,” she announces to her mother.
“Really,” her mom answers. “And why is that?”
“Look around you,” Zosha replies. “The evidence is incontrovertible, even in this house. Especially in this house.”
“Hmmm,” her mom replies.
“Look at Miles,” Zosha says. “Nothing but trouble. His head’s in a cloud. You can’t tell him anything.”
“Oh, your brother’s not so bad,” her mom replies.
“I beg to differ,” Zosha pronounces. “Yesterday, I asked him to pick up his fire truck. Sitting right in the middle of the family room. Today: still there. I could trip! I could be seriously injured! What if I couldn’t dance at the recital on Saturday? It would be an incontrovertible catastrophe!”
“Maybe you could help Miles organize his toys,” her mother says.
“Oh, please,” Zosha says. “When would it end? He’d expect me to do everything for him, the rest of my life. How could I want kids? What if they were like Miles?”
That night, Zosha has a dream. She’s climbing the pull-down ladder to the attic. She pokes her head into the musty space, flips the light switch. She stares. There’s her mom’s rocking chair, where she nursed Miles – ugh. But there is someone sitting in the chair – looks like her mom. And kneeling next to her, beside her mom’s hope chest, is a young girl in a dress with yellow stripes. The mother is reading to the girl. A warm tide floods through Zosha. She always loved it when her mom read to her. She gazes at the girl. But then she looks back at the woman in the rocker. The dark hair and eyes. Zosha looks closer. The tiny mole above her lip. “Oh my God,” Zosha breathes. “It’s me.”
(Word count: 300)