Excerpt from Sister Issues


“Please, Dad.” Ariel was on a poetry mission. She had decided to apply for an MFA in creative writing. She’d only be starting the semester a little bit late. And how hard could it be? You looked around, wrote what you saw. Had an emotion, wrote what you felt. Easy. Except her dad was not cooperating.

“You flunked out of U of M. It took you six years to finish out your degree at Wayne State. Why school? Again?”
He looked tired. She knew he missed Mom, she did too, but this was her life. She had to convince him.

“This is different.”

“With you, it’s always different. I’m tapped out, honey.”

“What about the house?”

He looked incredulous.

“Not this house! Cher’s place.”

“I told you all this before,” Dad rattled his newspaper. “I deeded the title over to the two of you. 50/50. What you do next is between you girls.”

Ariel felt a familiar impatience rise. Why did people deliberately misunderstand her? “I don’t want that place. There’s nowhere to sleep. Unless you want me to live in a coffee shop.” She thought for a second, then added, “plus how is living with Cher going to pay my tuition?”

Her dad sighed and made a show of putting down the newspaper. It was his favorite trick, hiding behind the sports page. She should write a poem about that.

“That house is worth a lot of money. The land alone is valuable. The location—nothing on the river goes for under half a million. And there’s no mortgage. Cher can take one out, get a cash payment, and settle half of the proceeds on you.”

All she heard was half a million. Then she was out of the house, on the way to see Cher, not even irritated by the sound of her father’s newspaper snapping back into position.

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