I never wanted holidays to come “Home” and “Away,” with halftime in the car so both teams could play.
I never wanted to sit and add up all the “normal” things I’ve missed. Don’t ask me WHAT I wanted, I just never wanted this.
Rylant, Cynthia. “Shells” from Every Living Thing by Cynthia Rylant.
Copyright © 1988.
“You hate living here.”
Michael looked at the woman speaking to him.
“No, Aunt Esther. I don’t.” He said it dully, sliding his milk glass back and forth on the table. “I don’t hate it here.”
Esther removed the last pan from the dishwasher and …show more content…
Oh, he was lonely. Even six months after their deaths, he still expected to see his parents—sitting on the couch as he walked into Esther’s living room, waiting for the bathroom as he came out of the shower, coming in the door late at night. He still smelled his father’s Old Spice somewhere, his mother’s talc.
Sometimes he was so sure one of them was somewhere around him that he thought maybe he was going crazy. His heart hurt him. He wondered if he would ever get better.
And though he denied it, he did hate Esther. She was so different from his mother and father.
Prejudiced—she admired only those who were white and Presbyterian. Selfish—she wouldn’t allow him to use her phone. Complaining—she always had a headache or a backache or a stomach ache.
He didn’t want to, but he hated her. And he didn’t know what to do except lie about it.
Michael hadn’t made any friends at his new school, and his teachers barely noticed him. He came home alone every day and usually found Esther on the phone. She kept in close touch with several other women in nearby condominiums.
Esther told her friends she didn’t understand Michael. She said she knew he must grieve for his parents, but why punish her? She said she thought she might send him away if he couldn’t be nicer. She said she