A New Reality
Emily and I went back and forth--one time our house the next hers. This time it was our house. You kids were outside playing. I poured the coffee and we munched the cookies I'd baked earlier that morning.
"These are good." Emily finished her first and took another.
"It's a new recipe. Do you want it?"
"Sure, but mine won't be this good."
"We each have our talents."
"Did you ever find out what's wrong with Lauren?"
We were usually blunt with each other. We were more than friends, more like sisters. But somehow this time her words stung. "What's wrong with her?"
I guess she didn't catch my tone. "Yeah, ears, nose or--?"
"They think she may have a learning disability. They called it dys-lex-c-a." It was the first time I used that word; it was the first time I assigned that label to you.
"Oh, I'm so sorry."
"Sorry? Why she's not dead." My words were crisp. Embarrassed, I took a breath, forced a smile. "It's just a temporary setback. She'll get help; she'll get over it; she'll be fine."
Emily offered me a smile. "Of course, she will."
I didn't understand. Dyslexia--the whole thing was so new to me. New and different. I didn't want different. I never wanted to stick out. I was worried what other people would think, say. But you are special. You've always been. And special is good, exciting. A mother wants life to be easy for her child. Your life was never easy. But steel is forged by fire.
This short story is dedicated to my mom--and other women like her.