• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 12


I pointed at the mug sitting in front of my younger sister and said, "That's my mug."
Beatrix looked at it. "Is it? I thought it was mine."
We were sitting in mom's kitchen having coffee, just the two of us, for the first time since her funeral two days ago. She'd raised us alone, working double-shifts in a supermarket, taking home expired food. When I outgrew clothes or toys, they went to Beatrix. And when they did, I never got anything back. My first doll was a knock-off Barbie, a 'Sandy'. Its hair fell out in clumps but I cared for that doll like it was my own child. One day mom gave it to Beatrix. I never played with it again.
The mug, though, that was supposed to be different.
"Where's your Toy Story mug?" I asked.
"Dunno. Somewhere around here."
In the silence between us, Beatrix flicked her hair over her shoulder, a gesture I recognised from when I used to do it as a teenager. Until Beatrix started copying it. My hair had run long down my back, whereas Beatrix's was barely shoulder-length, but she copied it anyway. I told her to stop but she wouldn't listen. Every time she flicked her hair over her shoulder she stole another little bit of it from me, until I found I couldn't do it anymore.
My one possession was a mug shaped like E.T.'s face, and it was unquestionably mine. Mom even said so, the day she brought them home and gave them to us, saying, "Miriam, this mug is yours, and Beatrix, this one's yours." Beatrix's mug was one of the triple-eyed aliens from Toy Story and I didn't care for it. Mom's mug was shaped like Chewbacca's head. I loved my E.T. and his round, friendly blue eyes. When I was a child I'd rest my chin on the table so I could stare back at him.
"Do you remember when you got your ears pierced?" I asked.
Beatrix snorted. "Jesus, how old was I? Like nine? I can't believe mom brought me when I asked her to. Where did I get the idea from?"



I got my ears pierced when I was eleven. My friend Nicole and I went to a mall. I went first and it hurt like hell, but my new earrings were so cool. Mom wasn't happy, but she accepted. Beatrix was in awe of it. Then a few days she had her ears pierced. Pair by pair, my earrings ended up in Beatrix's jewellery box, and I stopped wearing them altogether.
"I should have that mug," I told her.
"Why? It's not like it was yours anyway."
That was the simple fact: it had always belonged to Beatrix, like my doll and my earrings and my favourite dungarees and all the things over the years. I snatched the mug and flung it to the floor. E.T.'s face splintered, his friendly blue eyes turning into powder and dissolving in black coffee.