“Knoxville Girl”

Today I read:

In the course of things my mother died. My father gave us some cough drops and said we could attend the funeral if we didn’t cry. My brother began to sob. I pretended. The day of the funeral we had nothing to do but play in the barn with my mother’s horse and wander around the village, shopping for minutemen yard ornaments. We thought we were really going to get it when we came home after dark but my father still hadn’t returned.  So we let my mother’s horse into the house. What should have been the saddest day of our lives became the happiest as we taught the horse to dance and bow. My father didn’t come home for several weeks so we played with the horse and became inebriated on cough drops.

— Julia Slavin, “Impossible Cake

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