[Fiction] A woman remembers a difficult relationship with her mother, and the extended family that embraced her:

“But it’s as if my mother knows. Because, around the time I enter high school, I always turn out to be wrong. I have gotten a spot on my skirt, or my hair is a mess, or my posture is deplorable, or—my mother says—I’m glowering. Nor do I do enough around the house, and I refuse, in general, to take responsibility.

“That’s true—but when I try to be useful, I wreck things! For instance, my mother has been distressed because the curtains are dingy and she can’t afford new ones, so one Saturday, while she is working, I take them to the laundromat for a surprise, and out of the machine comes a big wad of shredded rags.

“I throw up, of course. And when my mother gets home and sees them, she turns white and then red and then white again. She makes a phone call, puts me in the car, drives me to my aunts’, reaches across me to open the car door, waits until I get out, and speeds off, without going in to say hello.”