Written by Thanisha Chowdhury
Art by Jill Wellington

They wait for me in the morning, when I come down to eat. How dear of them to wait. The table is as set as always, and they hold their forks like knives, knives like feathers. It took me longer than usual to wash my hands and longer yet to seat myself in a way that they may see me. Mother’s lipstick is looking dashing today and I tell her so, and she continues to smile, cracking rouge. When I turn to Father, he turns to his plate. How shy he’s always been, how timid. I right his neck and the clouds in his eyes thank me. Normally he and Mother would go on and on about their day at the law firm, speaking about paperwork as if it were riveting. I would become a utensil, a tool to spoon forward the conversation with occasional sounds of acknowledgement. Now, they look at me, and they listen. I smile. They smile back with all the teeth in their mouths. We will eat well tonight.