Excerpt from the short story “Sari”
Out of the box came yards and yards of delicate blue fabric with silver detailing on the edges.
It’s a sari, explained my mother. Indian women wear them everywhere. I thought maybe you could wear it to prom and look, it matches your eyes!
I smiled brightly. “Thanks, Mom.” My mother, with her tanned skin and dark hair and eyes, would have looked right at home in a sari. I, with my red hair and freckles, would look ridiculous in one. The pretty fabric would look better crumpled on the floor of my closet than it would on my body. As my brother expressed similarly fake gratitude for his gift, a handmade pan flute from Greece. My eyes floated over to my dad, who was leaning against the kitchen door, watching my mother warily. These semiannual visits were always awkward, but there was an unspoken ban on complaining. Dad led by example on this front, though he had cooked so many dinners, checked so much homework, and sat through so many of my choral performances and Ben’s soccer games every week that I thought he had more right to complain than Ben and me combined.
After the presents were opened and the paper disposed of, Mom took me and Ben and our overnight bags out to her shiny, rented Sorento. As I went out the door, my dad kissed me on the cheek.