She took me shopping for school clothes, before fifth grade, before my family left for Germany. Her black hair was way short. The cancer. She was Greek, adopted by a new Greek-American family when her mother died of the same cancer that would take her, aged 24. In the mall, under fluorescent lights, sifting through clothes, she coaxed me from my persistent bashfulness. It was OK to look good, Melody told me. To like what I wore, like how I looked, play that up. No one ever spoke to me this way. Some of these words were for someone a little older than me. But I know now her advice was for then and later. Because she’s gone now. And I still need it. I still need her. Walking through the halls, with her bent over me, giving me all her attention, oblivious to every man who swiveled to get a better look at her, drink her in. She was so beautiful. I chose a sweater vest: purple and lavender argyle. Purple corduroy pants. And a turtleneck.

Published by msdeer

I am an interdisciplinary artist, slightly incognito here.

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