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Posts tagged “_South_Dakota. Church. Trish Meek. Patricia L. Meek/

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My new short story release: Hot Springs. Published by CSU SAN BERNARDINO’S Ghost Town Literary Magazine.

http://ghosttownlitmag.com/patriciameek

HOT SPRINGS

Mary Ellen Stahl sat in the back of the old Lincoln, watching the silver Airstream follow behind, quietly pounding her chest so her grandparents wouldn’t hear the sound over the country music station. Of course, they’d already discovered her secret. It was the reason they’d decided to take the long trip from Pine Grove, Texas, to Hot Springs, South Dakota, to cure what they called an infliction with the healing powers of the water there.

The day after Mary Ellen had turned thirteen, she decided she would not grow breasts. Like many of her past birthdays, she celebrated by blowing out the multicolored candles on her frosted cake and by opening her gift. This year, she’d gotten a blue sweater, dotted with tiny rosebuds; “perfect for church” was what Grandmother Kay had said. The next morning while she was still lying in bed, she looked at the sweater draped over the chair and thought about the present her mother would have picked. If it had been a sweater, her mother would have picked red—something tight and fuzzy. She would have said something like: “The more plush, the better to hug,” or “Little Miss Mary, you just wait. You’ll have those boys admiring that figure of yours before too long.”

Mary Ellen was what her mother had affectionately called a late bloomer. Only recently had she noticed that her chest, which had been as flat as a boy’s, was beginning to grow, forming what looked like robin’s eggs. Mary Ellen had stared at the sweater, a size too big, when she imagined the rosebuds forming into a pattern, then swirling into a pool of colors. She’d cried then, and a few minutes later, she’d made a fist and brought it squarely down on her chest, hoping that her shells would crack. Although she knew there wasn’t much hope, she’d imagined that with time, and a little patience and determination, she could retard the growth and—with a little luck—avoid puberty.

Mary Ellen struck herself again and looked over at the front seat. She had to make sure that she would not be discovered. She knew all too well her grandparents’ response.

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