The Girl from Charnelle

Although only twenty, Gloria seemed like she’d aged.  The baby fat from her teen years was gone, and her cheeks were hollow, too thin, a little severe.  Her hair was done up in a beehive, held together precariously by hair spray and bobby pins.  There was a moment of silence, as Gloria and her family stood by the bus and the rest of the Tates stood at the railing.  They studied each other as family members who haven’t seen each other in a while will do, trying to align the person standing before them with the image in their memories–the little girl, the father, the sister, the brother–and the realignment sometimes takes only a few seconds, sometimes much longer, but that period of adjustment is always there, always a little disturbing, as if time itself were abruptly declaring its passage.


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