Oh my God, I remember that photo. That must be thirty years old, at least. We were all crammed into Aunt Edith’s flat for the weekend. I hated that place. No air conditioning, too small to move around, no place to go, only some ballgame on TV. Still, family is family. And there they sit. We called them the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse. Well, not to their faces, although Mom found out. I think she thought it was funny. Aunt Edith wouldn’t have. She would have boxed your ears and bitten her knuckle at you. But, Mom was the baby. God knows what bossing she put up with growing up. She claims she never got anything new, nothing that was wholly hers, until she and Dad married and moved away. Neenaw looked just like them, or rather, they looked just like her. Solid. Trying to be feminine but built like dock workers. Competitive to a fault. They elevated bickering and cruel remarks to a high art. But if you joined in or expressed a derogatory opinion about one to any of the others you could expect to get smacked down. That was their game. That’s me in the photo cube. I doubt it always sat in the middle of the table. I’m sure Aunt Edith put it there to goad Mom – “see, Shelly, I love your kids. Here they are on the table.” B.S.. Can I tell you how grateful I am that I take after Dad.

Story by Steven Yancey

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