Barbara’s mother needs a new kidney, and Lawrence is the best match.

“No, no,” says her mother.  “One of the girls will be fine.”

“It’s okay, Ma,” says Lawrence.  Barbara sees him reach for something small at the top of Ma’s shelf, so she knows it’s costing him to sound enthusiastic.  It’s an old family habit, lying while turning away.  “I’ve got two, way more than I need.  You take one.  I want you to have it.”

Ma nods but doesn’t answer, another deft deception, the yes that’s really a no.  Ma has no intention of letting him give her a kidney.  She’s already made that perfectly clear to Barbara.  She’s got four daughters but only one Lawrence. She wants the girls to draw straws from the second-best broom in the house.

“Let’s have lunch,” says Ma.  “I’ve got everything ready.”  Lawrence sets the table while Barbara serves the soup.  The battle’s underway, and Barbara needs to keep her strength up.



Copyright 2022 Kathryn Ma. All rights reserved.