Austrian Gold

Mom told us that if we dressed in our Sunday best we could have blueberry tarts and vanilla ice cream after the nice old man took our picture. I didn't mind wearing those starchy clothes, but Mom had to coax Stephen into his itchy pants. He cried when we sat down on the lacquered bench, he cried when he surrendered his teddy bear, he cried when Mom deserted us in the hands of that man behind the black curtain, and he choked on those wasted tears, then Sam started to cry... A beam transfixed on our eyes, brilliant and blinding, and the lucid emulsion was forever embedded on our golden heads. Stephen's eyes welled up with tears, but before he curled in my arms for comfort, he swallowed the fear, with one glimpse of the vanilla lace billowing under the door, and knew, Mom was near...

submitted by Mia
September 1997

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