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LAce Posted Monday, February 19th, 2007
Bare Skin
Margot Miller

"Jeremy! Lunch!" Sue Ella called her fourteen-year-old out of the basement where he sought refuge from yet another record-breaking summer day. The air-conditioning was working, barely. Standing under the ceiling fan, she unclasped her barrette, combed the hair off her neck with her fingers, and re-clamped it in a tidy twist at the back of her head.

Jeremy emerged from the stairwell as Sue Ella set tuna fish sandwiches, carefully arranged on bright yellow plates, at two place settings. Beside the plates lay cerulean blue cloth napkins and two glasses of water. She picked up one of them, brimming with ice cubes, and held it against the side of her slim tanned neck.

"Jeremy." She paused. "Where's your shirt?" She set the chilled glass, wet with condensation, back on the table.

"Aw, Mom." Jeremy's voice broke as he rolled his eyes.

"Jeremy, at your age you have to wear a shirt to eat with decent people." Twice in the last week Sue Ella had reminded her youngest to put on a shirt as the family sat down to dinner and Jeremy had trudged off to his room to cover his chest. "No shirt, no lunch."

"Mom! It's too hot."

"The air-conditioning is on!"

"What, you're not hot?" Jeremy almost sneered.

"Of course. We're all hot. You just can't come to meals half naked."

Jeremy reached for his sandwich as he dropped into his chair, ignoring Sue Ella, and bit into the tuna-on-white. With an index finger he pushed at a stiff sliver of romaine lettuce that was escaping out the side of his mouth, until it disappeared. Sue Ella, still standing with her hand on the back of her chair, stared at him, and then without knowing where the idea came from she said, "All right then." And she crossed her arms, taking the hem of her shirt in her hands and whipped it off, uncovering herself, a white stripe of all-cotton bra in a reverse sort of sandwich, between bare skin above and below.

"MOM!" Jeremy choked, as his chair clattered to the floor. He bolted from the kitchen gagging, a hand at his throat.

Sue Ella put her shirt back on and sat down. As she picked up her sandwich, from the hall she heard, "I'll never be able to eat tuna fish again!" She took a bite and murmured, "Oh, I bet you will."

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Kristin Tescher [ ] on Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 at 5:42 PM
Loved this story - so funny & true to moms experienced with the teenage years! Kristin (Branigan)

Posted by Bonnie ZoBell on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 at 12:31 AM
Love this! Great to read something that's so domestic and funny for a change.

Posted by david coyote [ ] on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 at 10:42 AM
What a funny ending! Real people - real life. Thanks for such a refreshing read. Love your sense of humor.

Posted by Donia Carey on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 at 1:46 PM
Delightful story, true to life. I love the gentle humor and the son's dramatic remark, just what a teen-ager would say.

Posted by Nonnie Augustine on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 at 10:53 PM
Smart Mom! I love it, Margot. Nonnie

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