She was very pretty, the girl. Pity how thin her lips were. That was Tara’s first impression. The door to the basement opened and for a moment, the dull racket of the party yawned alive. The girl was the first to leave and she did so passing not three feet from Tara’s chair without so much as nodding her head. Tara was sitting in the TV room with a book in her lap, waiting for her son’s party guests to leave so that she could confirm they weren’t inebriated. As for the state of this girl, Tara couldn’t tell—she’d passed by too quickly. By the time Tara closed her book and put down her reading glasses, the chime at the front door had made its tinkle. The girl was gone.

Tara forced her bare feet into a pair of runners, flattening out the backs with her heels. The girl was already halfway up the block, hugging herself although the night was sticky and warm. In the yellow light of the streetlamp, Tara noticed some redness on the backs of her legs. A rash?

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 3. Purchase the book to read the full piece.