Mother.

While the coffee brews you check on your mother, who is a strong-willed 94 but cannot fight the slow creep of age-borne weakness and disease. Two mini-strokes and osteoporosis have left her brittle. In your memory she is fat and strong and could half-carry you, giggling, pressed to her hip or stomach while she cooked or cleaned.

You were that small when she told you that you were conceived through marital rape.

She called it a story that should never be told.

You’ve never told that story, but as a journalist and editor you’ve told the stories of many others. Child brides. Victims of domestic abuse. Memorials for the immolated. You married for love. Your husband, Indian like you, like you studied abroad and returned to his homeland only to be bewildered by the pervasive cultural ideology that women are less than nothing.

Your mother is still asleep. You bend to kiss her papery forehead and slip out without waking her.

Go to work.

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