The day I ate two bottles of St. Joseph's baby aspirin, my mother was out of town. My father had fallen asleep, watching football in the den. I climbed up on the sink in my parents' bathroom where the mirrors reflected back and forth, back and forth. I could see myself again and again to infinity. There were so many of me present, I called out Hello! to every one. No one answered. But when I ate the orange-flavored tablets, so did they. Orange, my favorite color. I ate slowly, singing and waving to the other girls. It was almost a party with so many of us present. I wanted to meet them all, break open the glass and set them free.

When my father discovered me holding the empty aspirin bottles, he didn't scream or spank. Instead he picked me up and carried me outside to his dark Buick. He drove with me in his arms, leaning me back against his chest. It was the way he held me against him, his prickly chin pressing against my head that I remember best. I wanted to be held like that forever. Sometimes, looking at a photograph of my father, I still taste the bitter-sweet orange of children's aspirin. Then I think of the other girls, so many others I might have been, if he'd held them too.

--- From Sleeping with Houdini
Nin Andrews
©2007 BOA Editions, Ltd.
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