Tuesday, November 6, 2007


(Self-Portrait Nursing, photograph by Catherine Opie, copyright hers)

This is an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Ginny Bates. If you are already a familiar reader, skip down to Read More. If not, here's links to background information in the sidebar to the right, third item from top.

The prior great love of Myra's life was Karin Barbaras, who now wants nothing to do with Myra.

Disclaimer: There is explicit sex in this section.

March 1991 -- Margie is 2 years old, Gillam is 2.5 months

Margie always resisted bedtime, always knew wonderful things were going to happen the minute she gave in to slumber. She suspected her mothers had a whole other life without her, and she was determined to find her own ticket into the fun. Gillam, on the other hand, was still in the hold me, feed me, change me and that's all I want from life stage of early babyhood.

After one tough bedtime, Ginny said "I keep reminding myself she was once just like him, just that easy."

Myra replied "The corollary would be that he's going to be like her in a year."

"Bite your tongue."

They lay down gratefully facing each other. Ginny stroked Myra's ankle with one foot, then said "At least with Gillam my breasts are not cracked and exquisitely tender like they were with Margie."

"You were such a hurting unit. Here's, let's have a look at 'em."

Myra really just wanted to hold them and marvel at the blue-green veins under the surface, but Ginny pulled her head gently down and she took Ginny's breast in her mouth. After a while they were kissing passionately, and Ginny's hand was stroking the top fold of Myra's thigh, following the crease slowly back and forth. Myra said "If you're too tired, I really really understand. But if you felt like fucking me very thoroughly, it would be a boon."

Ginny got up on her knees and stretched over her to reach the bedside drawer. Myra used the opportunity to run her tongue up and down Ginny's vulva. She was always hungry for the taste of Ginny.

Ginny turned and went down on Myra as well. After a few minutes, though, she stopped herself and slid off. "No, you asked for something specific. Here, help me with this. No, I don't need lube now. Pull that strap a little tighter. Oh, god, that's it."

They kept kissing as Ginny coaxed Myra's thighs open all the way. "I cannot believe how much I want you" said Myra.

"Angel, angel" murmured Ginny over Myra's gasp. A few minutes later, Myra was clutching Ginny's chest tight to hers and yelling "Oh, god, please don't stop, Ginny, don't stop, don't stop", when she heard Margie's voice right in her ear say "Mama?"

"Mother of GOD" screamed Ginny, her whole body jerking in shock. "Marjorie, you scared the living SHIT out of me!" She lifted herself up on her elbows, then said, "Myra, relax your knees, I have to pull out."

"I heard noise" said Margie. Myra was having trouble drawing breath.

"Yes, that was us" said Ginny. "Come on, let's get you back to bed." She slid her feet off the mattress and picked up Margie.

"What's that blue thing?" said Margie.

"A dildo. It's a kind of toy."

Ginny was carrying her toward the door.

"Can I play with it?"

"No, just Mamas....Hush, it's like your Miss Piggy, that's for Margie only, right? Let's get Miss Piggy and put her in bed with you."

Myra sat up and turned on the light. Gillam begin a thin cry next door. "I'm coming" she called out. She heard Ginny giggle.

In the children's bedroom they switched teams. Ginny picked up Gillam from his crib, her cobalt dick bobbing with every step, and settled back into the rocker with him. He latched onto her breast. Myra tucked Margie into her bed and said "I'll read one thing, just one."

"Anno!" said Margie.

"No, that's a picture book and we're keeping the lights low, you won't be able to see. How about a poem?"

"Highwayman!" said Margie.

Myra got the book from their shelves and sat down on the bed next to Margie. She yawned, then began:

"The moon was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees..."

Margie was solidly out before King George's men came marching, marching up to the old inn door. Myra got up and went to the hall closet.

"What are you after?" whispered Ginny.

"The camera. I have to get a picture of you right now."

"No! Some photo lab clerk will sell it for porn."

"I'll use the Polaroid. I'll give you the photo, do whatever you want with it. But you have to see what I am seeing."

"What if the flash wakes them back up?"

"Then I'll do penance."

Ginny chuckled. "Okay, I can think of things..."

The camera flashed. Gillam blinked but kept eating. Margie drooled lightly onto Miss Piggy.

"Okay, you're right, that one goes in the lesbian family album. The private album, to be opened only after we die" said Ginny.

"It looks a lot bigger than it feels. I mean that in a good way. Listen, Gin, do you need something? A glass of milk, a banana, a transfusion? He looks determined to suck you dry."

"No, I'm okay. Go back to bed. I'll wake you up if you're asleep. Do-overs?"

"You betcha."

October 1991 -- Margie is almost 3, Gillam is 10 months. Myra and Ginny are taking the kids back to visit Denver -- Ginny's mother Helen has never seen Gillam.

Getting on the plane with all their gear and two little ones was hectic in the extreme. Gillam had gone into his frightened of strangers period, and the ramp onto the plane sent him into a panic. Myra was carrying his safety seat in her recently uncasted arm, two packs slung across her back, and leading Margie by the hand, while Ginny dealt with a gibbering Gillam in her Snugli and another two packs. Once on the plane, the first class flight attendant was enormously competent, getting the safety seat buckled in rapidly and stowing packs under seats or close at hand while all of them were crammed into the standing space before two seats, so other passengers could board.

When Ginny was able to shunt over to her side and get Gillam into his seat, Myra gave Margie the window seat, buckling her in and pointing out the window. Margie was enthralled with the view and didn't say another word for a long time. Myra sorted out toys, snacks, books, and other essentials for the flight and distributed them between her and Ginny while Ginny soothed Gillam into a cautious calm. Then Myra remembered to ask the flight attendant for a seatbelt extender -- even in first class, the seatbelts were not long enough to stretch over her.

As the plane taxied down the runway, Myra pulled out two pieces of bubble gum and gave one to a delighted Margie, reminding her that gum was meant to never be swallowed. She suggested they have a loud chewing contest, to see who could open their mouth the widest while chewing. A terrible precedent to set, but they were hoping it would do the job of equalizing air pressure in Margie's tender ears, avoiding the screaming pain of small children on airline flights.

For Gillam, Ginny intended to start nursing him at the point of ascent. She had put off weaning him in anticipation of this flight's need. She was weary to death of nursing, but this would be a worthwhile last hurrah if it worked.

The gum worked. The nursing did not. He began shrieking before they reached maximum altitude, refusing the breast and clutching at Ginny in a pitiful way. Myra could feel the palpable anger of the passengers around them. Margie's gum smacking was almost as annoying. She leaned across the aisle and said to Ginny "Not our fault. Not their fault. Let it roll on past us." Once Gillam's cries got tired, Ginny pulled out a kleenex and placed it over Gillam's nose, commanding him to blow. This was a process he could only do intermittently, imperfectly, but he tried and at the last second she clamped her fingers shut on his nose, forcing him to blow out his ears. He yelped at the sensation, but then looked up at her with a tear-streaked face that showed no further signs of pain.

"You are a genius" said Myra. Ginny snapped him back into his seat and gave him a couple of pop-up books. She leaned back against her seat and closed her eyes. "I hope my family fucking appreciates this" she murmured.

The toilet also freaked Gillam out, which Myra couldn't fault him about -- they were truly alien spaces. Ginny wound up putting a diaper on him, saying "We'll pay for the therapy if toilet-training regression scars him for life." Margie was fascinated with the blue water in the toilet bowls and Myra had to watch her vigilantly to keep her from plunging her hand into the liquid. Both children loved the airline meals, however -- the little plates, the packages of utensils, and the desserts.

Ginny tried to nurse Gillam again during the descent, and either it worked or he was too exhausted to cry any more. They let everybody else get off before loading themselves back up like pack mules and heading down the ramp. They had insisted they would rent a car and get to the motel on their own. However, there was David at the gate, with a motorized cart he had somehow held for them. "You are a god among men" said Myra as she handed him Margie and loaded their stuff onto the back section of the cart. Gillam didn't remember David, of course, and screamed when David leaned over to give him a kiss. But Margie latched onto her Zayde and made up for it with her excitement.

While Ginny and David stood with the kids at the baggage claim conveyors, David working wonders at keeping Margie's hands from the flesh-rending metal carousel, Myra walked down to the rental car desk and got their car on its way. Once it was out front and they had installed Gillam's seat, using a built-in seat for Margie that Myra prayed was actually adequate, David hugged them and said he would meet them back at the house, whenever they could make it. They were going to the motel first to check in and get the kids settled down a bit.

At the motel, Myra installed plug protectors in all the outlets, a lid lock on the toilet seat, and hid all the ashtrays and small pieces of paper in a drawer Gillam couldn't reach. Ginny had brought several sheets which she spread on the floor and then sat Gillam down, so he could wander at will. They dumped the toy bag on the floor under the clothes pole, unpacked the rest of their bags, and then collapsed onto the king bed side by side. After two minutes, Gillam said "Potty."

Myra sat up with a sigh. "Well, he's trying" she said. She got up and took him into the bathroom, removing his wet diaper and positioning him on the seat, holding him while he went. She cleaned him up and put a hair of Ninja Turtle underwear on him, saying "Now, you remember, this is the kind we never pee or poop into, right? Not on the Ninja Turtles." He nodded seriously. She packaged the dirty diaper in a ziplock and threw it away, then scrubbed her hands and face. She looked old in the mirror, she thought.

Ginny had dozed off. There was a small round of moisture around one nipple. Margie was playing happily with an array of plastic crap, and Gillam was exploring the room, half crawling, half balancing himself upright against furniture. Myra slipped back beside Ginny, who rolled over and laid her head on Myra's shoulder. Myra kissed her forehead and looked at her watch. She'd give Ginny half an hour more of sleep.

At the half hour mark, she got up numbly and changed the children into clean shirts, washing their faces. Their hair was so short, she didn't have to worry about combing. She finally got Margie to give up her gum. She thought about changing her own shirt, but decided it was not worth the bother. She did reapply deodorant. She woke Ginny up sweetly, saying "My darling, we have to go eat dinner with your family". While Ginny got upright and coherent, Myra packed a small bag of the most popular toys and books, threw in extra diapers with a box of wipes, and began hauling children to the car. Ginny changed her shirt, made sure she had the room key and joined them, getting in the driver's seat.

As she was about to turn on the car, she looked at Myra and said "I love you. These are our children, not theirs. We are a united front. Even if we disagree with each other, not in front of them, right?"

"100%" said Myra.

At the house, Myra was glad to see Cathy, Michael, and Ginny's two nephews, Noah and Nate, who were still in college. At least Helen's living room floor was guaranteed to be spotless. She set Gillam down, but he clung to her leg so she coaxed him to follow her over to the couch. She put toys out on the floor, but he wouldn't leave her side or make eye contact with anybody except her or Ginny.

Margie, on the other hand, was clearly running for Miss Congeniality, bless her heart. She even charmed Helen by commenting on how pretty, pretty her dress was. Helen didn't know that the sight of a dress was an extreme novelty in Margie's world.

After talking about the flight and other catch-up news, Ginny took Gillam from Myra and popped down the button on her nursing blouse to feed him. The whole room went silent and tried not to watch as Gillam closed his mouth around Ginny's nipple. Ginny said tiredly "He should be weaned by now, but I wanted to wait until after this trip." She explained about the ear theory. After a while, he sat up and said "Done", one of his best words. She switched him to the other side, kissing the top of his head and murmuring "my yingl libling" as he began draining that breast. When he was "Done" again, Myra wiped his mouth and set him back on the floor. Finally Ginny's family started conversing normally again.

Myra leaned over and kissed Ginny on the cheek. Ginny responded by snuggling into Myra's side, resting her head on Myra's shoulder. This seemed to be more of a novelty to Ginny's nephews than the breastfeeding had been. Gillam had finally, warily, crawled over to the toy bag, looted by Margie, and picked up his favorite Barbie. He was chatting in a fluid gibberish to her, trying to get her frizzed-out hair to lie down.

Helen said she needed to go get dinner on the table, and Cathy said she would help. After they left, Margie transferred her focus to David. He showed her his Rolex, his gold pen, and his car keys. She asked what else he had. He picked her up and said "Have you ever seen an electric pencil sharpener?" He carried her into his office, off the living room, and they heard a whir, then a peal of laughter from Myra. Pencil sharpening occupied the next half hour, with Margie being allowed to dull the new points on a legal pad and then resharpen the pencil in an endless cycle. Myra tried to think of things to talk about with the remaining males in the room, but mostly she was just too damned tired.

When dinner was ready, Ginny and Myra sat next to each other so they could feed Gillam between them -- they had not brought a high chair and Helen didn't have one any more. Margie was allowed to sit beside David. "Keep your napkin handy, she's bad about wiping on any cloth surface" warned Ginny.

Ginny efficiently turned adult food into Gillam morsels using a variety of techniques. She grabbed bites to eat for herself while Myra fed Gillam what Ginny had prepared. Helen had made her chopped liver again, and this scored a big hit with Gillam. Ginny grinned at Myra, "Like mother, like son".

Cathy asked Ginny about her painting. Ginny said "Now that there's two kids, every day is an all-out race against time. Even with Myra being a hero and Allie's steady presence, I've only managed to do two paintings since Gillam was born."

"Me, too -- only had two poems published in the last year" said Myra.

"What about a babysitter?" said Helen.

"We've talked about it. But not until Gillam gets past his fear of outsiders, and until he's completely verbal. If he starts reading as early as Margie did, which was two, then I'd feel okay about getting him into some kind of care situation -- I'd think he would have the skills to tell us if something was not right for him" said Ginny.

"Two?" said Michael.

"Yeah, at least that" said Myra. "That's just when we discovered it. She also knows her multiplication tables up through nine, the names of all the planets and their moons, and she can see color variations that are beyond me. That's the Bates genes, if you ask me."

Everybody looked down the table at Margie. She was trying to stick a garbanzo up her nose and David was persuading her against it.

Ginny began laughing. "Now that's the Bates genes" she said, nodding at Margie. "Myra gives me too much credit. She's got a phenomenal heritage of brilliance and language skills in her own family. And, our children have two full-time hands-on nurturers. It pays off."

"Plus our house -- well, you've seen it, Cathy and David -- Ginny has turned it into the most interesting environment on earth. Color, texture, gardens, aunties over all the time, pets -- "

"Your thousands of books, your world music -- " said Ginny.

"Your daily art projects, our strong Jewish heritage --" said Myra. She looked around the table, then added "Plus the fact that Ginny's been extremely particular about what she puts in her body."

The minute she said it, she was horrified. Ginny choked, just plain choked. So did Michael, and after a second, Nate and Noah turned crimson. Cathy got it, too. The only way to cope was laugh. Unfortunately, Helen didn't understand and either David didn't hear it or didn't connect the dots, so they were baffled as all the other adults in the room went bonkers, covering their faces with napkins and pounding on the table. Gillam, safe between his mothers, also began giggling, looking between them to indicate he too, was cool.

Before the meal was over, Gillam was done and unable to bear being held still any more. Myra said "I'll take him" and carried him back out the living room. Margie of course had to follow, so she had both of them on the floor with her, playing, when the adults came back in.

"I brought you macaroons" said Cathy, holding out a plate of cookies. Helen had a frown on her face -- food in her living room was not part of the rules. Myra interrupted Margie's grab and got them one each. "Sit down to eat it" she instructed them. Margie gobbled hers, then said "More", heading toward the plate on the coffee table. Myra looked around but didn't see Ginny -- she must be in the kitchen or the bathroom. She managed to snag Margie's overalls from behind and pull her back, saying "No, sweetie, just one. Remember, you had dessert on the plane."

Margie erupted, screaming like a banshee and trying to get out of Myra's grip. Then she flung herself back onto the carpet and began pounding her fists and feet on the floor. Ginny appeared from the kitchen and Myra said "Macaroon limit. Take Gillam, will you?" Ginny picked up Gillam, who looked ready to cry also, and carried him over to a chair. Myra kept her hand under Margie's head to keep her from pounding it on the floor and let her tantrum it out.

Whenever Margie paused to draw a new breath, Myra said "I love you, honey. Too much sugar is not good for little kiddos." Margie would go off again, her face a perfect mask of rage and frustration. Myra stuck with her, and eventually Margie wore herself out. She went to sniffling, then a kind of fake forced crying, then gave it up altogether. She crawled into Myra's arms and patted Myra's face, saying "I love you, Mommy." Myra kissed her and said "I love you, too. You were really mad, huh?" Margie nodded. "Well, good job of getting it out of you. Feel better?" Margie nodded again. She looked over at the coffee table and said "No more cookies tonight."

"That's right. You are so smart, Marjorie Rose!" said Myra, hugging her. "What about reading a book to me?"

Margie got a book from the toy area and brought it back, curling into Myra's lap and turning to the first page. Myra looked for Ginny, found her walking a drowsy Gillam. "If you want to put him on the other side of my lap, he's almost out" said Myra. Ginny obliged, and Gillam pressed himself full against Myra, his little arm hooked around her neck, as Myra kept listening to Margie and making comments after some lines.

Ginny sat down next to Cathy, who said "Wow. How often that does happen?"

"Whenever she gets mad. At least once a day" said Ginny. "It's frustrating being a little person in a world run by often incredibly stupid adults. And traveling is full of arbritrary limits, I'm surprised she held out this long."

"But don't -- doesn't it bother other people when she screams like that?" said Helen. Myra tried not to react.

"If it does, that's their problem. Margie has a right to her anger, and to expressing it. Girls' anger is diverted into some other emotion, while boys' grief or sadness is diverted into anger. But they're all basic human emotions. She just wants to express it and get over it, fast as possible. She'll learn other ways of coping as she gets older and able to handle it. But she's only three." Ginny's voice was remarkably calm, Myra thought. This must be some sore spot from her own childhood but you couldn't tell it from Ginny's tone.

Suddenly Myra said "Gin -- either he's pooped or he passed gas, which means he's about to poop." Ginny jumped up and grabbed Gillam, hauling him into the bathroom where they could hear his not-quite-English protests. After a while, there was a flush and Ginny came back out with his face drowsing on her shoulder. "Caught it in time, my love" she said. "I've got him, he's just a sleepy baby at the moment."

She sat down again next to Cathy, who got a chance to sneak in some touching of Gillam while his eyes were closed. His dimpled elbows and knees, the back of his glossy head, the curve of his back were all irresistible, Myra knew.

Margie finished her book and said "Will you tell me somefin?"

"How's about a poem?" said Myra.

"Yes" said Margie. Myra began "You do not have to be good / You do not have to walk on your knees / for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting..."

Gillam was now sound asleep. Ginny offered him to Cathy, who nodded enthusiastically. Ginny slipped him onto Cathy's shoulder. He sighed but did not wake up; he twisted his fist into the neck of Cathy's shirt, and she visibly melted. Ginny got on the floor and crawled over to Myra, curling herself behind Myra and putting her hand inside the cuff of Myra's pants, cradling her ankle. Myra went on telling poetry to Margie, who was getting very still and heavy. Nobody was talking; they all seemed to be listening to Myra's recitation.

She moved on through some Judy Grahn, a light Pat Parker, and then "Birches". Finally Michael said gently "Ginny's asleep too". Myra looked down at Ginny, her face resting on her curved arm.

"It was a long, taxing day" said Myra.

"We really appreciate you coming here" said David. "We didn't travel with our kids until they were at least four."

Margie's head was lolling over, and Myra laid her down on the white carpet. David offered a cushion for her head, drawing another look from Helen. In the process of settling Margie, Ginny woke up, looking confused for a moment, then said "Oh, gosh, I'm sorry, everybody."

"Not a problem" said Michael. Ginny sat up, then pushed Myra's legs apart and crawled into her lap, leaning back sideways so her cheek was on Myra's shoulder. Myra kissed her forehead and said "You smell awfully good."

"Chicken liver" said Ginny, giggling. She leaned her face back to look Myra full in the eyes. Then she put her mouth on Myra's, and gave her a long, sensuous kiss. She snuggled back into Myra's arms with a happy sigh.

Myra asked David about his own painting and drawing, and that started a conversation about Western American art in general. Eventually she was able to draw the nephews into a talk about politics, then modern rock, then the symbolism of music videos. Ginny went back to sleep, occasionally waking up enough to press her lips against Myra's neck for a moment.

At 9:00, Myra declared it their bedtime. David picked up all the toys while Myra got Ginny awake, then Margie into her arms. Ginny retrieved Cathy from Gillam, and everybody except Helen walked them out to their car and helped them get the children buckled in. As Myra was walking around to the driver's side, she heard Nate whisper to Noah "Who knew Aunt Ginny was a hottie?" After they got back to the motel and got the children pottied, changed, and tucked in between them, she told Ginny this comment, who laughed her ass off.

"Which part do you think qualified me as a hottie?" she asked.

"I hope to god it's not the breastfeeding" said Myra.

"Well, kudos to you, Myra, for helping me bring out my latent hottiness" she said, kissed her goodnight.

March 1992 -- Gillam is just past 1, Margie is 3

They got the kids down for a nap in the late afternoon. As soon as they closed the bedroom door, Ginny stripped off her clothes and she headed down the stairs, saying "I'm hitting the hot tub. How's about it?"

"In a minute" said Myra. When she came out to the hottub, she had a cotton blanket draped over her shoulders. As she dropped it, exposing what she had on underneath, Ginny gasped. "You can't wear that in here! It'll ruin the leather -- maybe the rubber too."

Myra pushed Ginny back against the wall of the tub and bobbed down to chin level in the water so she could come up between Ginny's legs. Ginny was kissing her but still worrying about the leather belt.

"I won't be wet enough. Let's get out of the water."

Myra climbed out, then reached a hand down to Ginny. She led her only a few feet, though, to the chaise longue on the deck, which she lowered so the back was flat. Ginny sat down but kept talking. "What about the neighbors? What if the kids look out?"

"They will see a blanket-covered hump moving in a suggestive manner. Make room for me, Ginny."

"The metal arm -- my thigh can't go any further."

"I know it's been months since you nursed anybody, but I sure wish I could pull milk out of you." Myra lowered her mouth onto Ginny's breast.

"You're welcome to try" said Ginny. "What are you -- oh, god, that hand is cold."

"It'll warm up" said Myra. After several minutes she said "Okay, honey, we're ready. Lift your knees -- a little more."

As Ginny arched up toward her, Myra kissed her throat and said "I hope this chair holds."

Afterward, Myra stayed in her and on her, not inclined to uncouple just yet. Ginny traced Myra's shoulders with her fingers.

"It's been two weeks" said Myra. "I know the children are our priority, but I don't want to wait until they're grown before we get to cut completely loose again."

"I know" said Ginny softly. "Every time you breathe, I feel you....What do you think they'll be like when they're grown?"

"I can't imagine. They change every day."

"No, come on" said Ginny. "They came out with strong personalities, and we've had enough time to form an impression."

"Well, you tell me, then" said Myra.

"Gillam....He'll need someone to love, I bet he has a big family. He needs to be around people all the time, and he yearns to win their approval. Maybe he'll be a politician."

"Like Bill Clinton?"

"God forbid." Ginny giggled. "And Margie...well, she'll either be an unwed mother by the time she's 14 or she'll never have kids, I'm not sure which."

Myra joined in: "She'll be the old lady on the block that all the kids think is a witch and run past her house."

"We're terrible.....What is that funny sound?"

Myra heard it too, a faint percussion. She looked over at the windows of the studio and saw Margie's furious face pressed against the glass. She was alternately trying to open the sliding door and pounding on the door with her fat little fist. Gillam stood behind her, the crotch of his sleepers soaked.

"Margie's figured out how to open the gate on the stairs" said Myra. "And the future President seems to have wet the bed again."

She sat up on the leg-rest portion of the chaise, keeping her blanket tightly wrapped around her. Ginny swung her leg to the deck and stood up swiftly. The chaise flipped over, tumbling Myra onto the deck with the chair over her torso. Her lower half was exposed as the blanket gaped open.

Ginny looked down at her. "That clicking you hear is the neighbors' camera." She started for the house and threw over her shoulder "Come find us when you've...changed."

May 1992 -- Gillam is just past 1, Margie is 3

On Saturday afternoon, they opened the sliding door onto the deck and let the children run in and out of the house, playing with their trikes on the deck. Myra was at her desk, trying to think about poetry, and Ginny was at her work table sorting through sketches Allie was pushing her to submit as incidental art to various publications. After a while, there was a long stretch of silence, without the sound of wheels bumping across the slats of the deck or Margie's voice with its incessant narration.

Just as Myra's brain registered the need to check on the children, she saw Ginny bolt out the door. She followed in a flash, in time to see Margie almost over the cast-iron safety fence around the pool, Gillam standing several feet away watching with interest. Ginny grabbed Margie from the top rail of the fence and held up up at eye level, her face pushed up close to Margie's, as she screamed "What on EARTH do you think you're doing? Don't you EVER go inside the pool fence without a grown-up with you! You could DIE, Margie, bad, bad, BAD girl!" She wasn't shaking Margie, but her hands around Margie's middle looked painfully tight.

Before Myra could get to her, Margie burst into screams of fright and outrage, and Ginny set her back down on the ground. Pulling Margie firmly behind her, she made her sit down on the bench and said "Three minutes. You sit there for three minutes." She turned around, picked up the tricycle Margie had wedged into the fence rails so she could stand on the seat to climb over the fence, and threw it wildly out into the yard. Then she took a deep breath, turned around and saw Myra. Her shoulders went back down, and her contorted face smoothed out a little.

Gillam was frozen in place, one hand in his mouth, the other hand clutching at his crotch. Ginny looked down at him and said in a voice shaking with her effort to be normal, "Gillam, honey, do you need to potty?" He rolled his eyes up at her and finally nodded warily. She picked him up and carried him past Myra to the bathroom.

Myra squatted down by Margie and said, in between Margie's sobs, "I'll come get you when your three minutes are up. We love you, Margie." Then she went back to her desk, her entire body feeling weak. She sat in her chair and leaned forward, breathing deep. The toilet flushed in the bathroom behind her, but immediately water began running in the sink. When it continued on, Myra thought Gillam must have not quite made it and Ginny was cleaning him up. After another minute, Gillam burst out of the bathroom, naked from the waist down and giggling, and streaked into the living room. The running water continued; Ginny was no doubt washing out his briefs.

At the three minute mark, Myra went back to the bench and put her arms around Margie. Margie was only sniffling now. "Do you know what you did wrong, honey?" Myra asked. Margie nodded. "Are you sorry?" Myra continued. Margie nodded again. "I need you to promise me, and Mama, that you won't ever, ever try to climb the fence into the pool again" said Myra gently. Margie put her arms around Myra's neck and said "I promise, Mama."

But she was only three. Promises made in earnest were easily forgotten. Myra felt a chill inside her. Margie said "Mama looked like a monster."

Myra met her eyes. "Yes, she was pretty upset. She was so scared for you, it changed how she looked." She picked Margie up and walked her back into the house, meeting Ginny coming out of the bathroom. "See, there's Mama, and her face is not scared any more."

Ginny crossed over and took Margie from Myra. Margie clung to her and said "I'm sorry." Ginny looked at Myra over her shoulder and said "I lost it."

"Yeah. But I can't honestly say I'd have done any different."

"Constant eye on them, I guess, when they're back here" Ginny said with a weary voice.

"We'll take turns" said Myra. Gillam ran back into the room, giddy with being pantless.

"Let's go back out in the yard and fill the bird feeder" said Ginny. Myra grabbed Gillam as he passed her and swung him up onto her shoulders. Laughing, he clutched her forehead with his pudgy arms and pushed his warm, soft pile of genitals against the back of her neck. Ginny grinned at her, and Myra thought Who'd have ever guessed.

Gillam was delighted to be almost as high as the bird feeder. He reached for the wire and Myra stretched up on her tiptoes, letting his fingers graze it. She said "Me and you together, we're like a two-headed giant, huh, Gillam?"

"Like Jack's giant?" asked Margie, looking up at them.

"Hey, why don't you be Jack and we'll be the giant. You are stealing the golden goose, and you have to get the goose into the house before the giant chases you down" said Myra. She reached up and took Gillam's arms in her hands so he wouldn't fall off her as she moved more forcefully. Margie began running for the door. Myra called out "You're forgetting your goose!"

Ginny dropped down to her haunches and folded her arms against her sides like wings, honking in a goosy way. She waddled over the grass, looking for tidbits. The giant bumbled around ineffectively, Gillam kicking at Myra's chest to make her turn toward Jack. Margie rushed back in a dither and grabbed one of the goose's wings, saying urgently "Come with me, goose! Come now!"

But the goose would only follow a couple of waddles before becoming distracted and changing direction. Fortunately, the giant was a complete idiot and moved way too slowly. Myra kept repeating in a dreadful growly voice "FEE-FI-FO-FUM, I smell the blood of a MARJORUM, Be she alive or be she dead, I'll grrrind her bones to make my bread!"

Margie began shrieking in panic. If there had been a stick handy, she would have beaten gilt chunks off her recalcitrant goose. Gillam was also yelling "FEE-FI-FO-FUM" and trying to turn Myra's head with his knees so she would chase Jack in a deadly trajectory. After half an hour, both children were breathless and flushed bright red.

Margie finally kicked her goose through the sliding door and collapsed on the study floor in jubilation. Myra lifted Gillam from her shoulders and started into the house with him following her. Ginny stood up and said "You give?" Myra grinned and said "I need to go wash the back of my neck. Gillam leaked on me a little in all the excitement." Ginny laughed and grabbed a wet wipe to clean Gillam off again.

When Myra returned from the bathroom, Ginny had the children seated at the art project table and was handing out Fimo. Myra said "I'm going to start dinner. I don't have a goose, but I was thinking I'd roast a chicken and make some golden deviled eggs."

"With curry?" said Ginny.

"Sure. I already made dark wheat rolls, but I could put marjoram butter on them." Margie looked up at this, curious.

"Will you make your orange-glazed carrots tonight? I'm in the mood. And I know you don't care much for parsnips, but the rest of us do, and if you mixed them in with the carrots, it would go well."

"Okay" said Myra, thinking she would pick out the parsnips when she served herself. "I'm going to cook that chard, too."

"Yum" said Ginny.

Myra kissed the top of each matching head, said "Dinner in about an hour, then" and went to the kitchen. After half an hour, she came out with a small plate of warm deviled eggs and buttered rolls, saying "I brought you a tide-me-over." She sat on the floor behind them and fed each mouth by hand until the plate was emptied. Then she went back to the kitchen to steam the chard and set the table.

Ginny got the Fimo put away and little hands washed right as the chicken came out of the oven. They sang in havdallah and sat down eagerly.

Cutting up food, Ginny remarked "They didn't get a nap this afternoon. That means an early bedtime."

"Yes, indeedy" said Myra with anticipation. To forestall Margie's complaint, she went on "And tomorrow is the third Sunday of the month, which means Friends Meeting and First Day School."

Gillam and Margie clapped their hands. "You know", said Ginny, "I'll go with you all tomorrow." The children applauded even more.

Margie was rooting through the glazed veggies with her fingers and finding small parsnips, eating them with gusto. Myra tried not to watch. Margie said, her mouth full of food, "At the end of First Day School, when we all come back into the big room with the grownups and it's so quiet, and we can't talk? I see lots of colors in the air."

Ginny was startled. "What kind of colors, baby?"

"All kinds. They swirl around the heads of some of the grownups" said Margie, smacking a little. Ginny looked over at Myra, who mouthed "Auras" silently.

After dinner, while Myra cleaned up, Ginny played their version of "Name That Tune" with the children. This involved someone thinking of a song the others were sure to know, then blowing the tune as best they could on the belly of the contestant. It brought on guaranteed hysterics, and if the children didn't endlessly cycle through "Row, row, row your boat" and "Twinkle, twinkle, little star", nobody would ever have been able to guess a single song over all the shrieks and blubbery sounds of lips on skin.

At 8:00, Ginny announced bedtime. She shooed them up the stairs, promising to tell them "La cuenta del Juanita y de las frijoles mágicas". Myra said "I haven't heard that one." Ginny paused and said "Juanita is from Nicaragua, and the giant's name is Ronaldo. He dies most satisfactorily. Listen, when I come back down, do you want a chance to write or a chance to you-know-what?"

"How about an hour for each? We can still get a full night's sleep afterward, I think."

Ginny's face lit up. "Trifecta! After Meeting tomorrow, let's take them out to a cafeteria instead of cooking. We can have soup for dinner."

"They'll love a cafeteria. And that gives us even more free time tomorrow, out of the kitchen. You are one smart mutha." said Myra. She began picking up scattered toys and started a load of laundry.

When Ginny came back downstairs later, as she passed through to her studio she said "I set the kitchen timer. You've got 60 minutes" and winked at Myra. Myra pulled her poetry folder into the middle of her desk and opened it happily.

June 1992 -- Margie is 3.5, Gillam is 1.5

After eating breakfast, Myra headed upstairs. "Where are you going?" called Ginny, loading dishes into the dishwasher.

"I need to look at the kid's shirts" drifted down from Myra. Margie made a beeline for the stairs, and after a few seconds, Ginny picked up Gillam and followed her. They found Myra pulling out all the T-shirts from the chest of drawers and laying them on the bed into piles.

"Sorting for the AIDS garage sale?" asked Ginny. "I just did that last month."

"No, I'm thinking about what they should wear for the Dyke March. They don't have many with good political statements on them, they're so hard to find for little ones. I don't think Gillam has any."

Ginny giggled. "Ah, the dilemma of the well-dressed toddler of lesbians."

"Well, it's never too early. I was thinking I'd wear my Fuck The Police shirt, that's black with red letters, and my black 501s and my Sandinista scarf." Some revolutions were hard to let go of.

"Red and black, huh. I could wear those black velvet pants you like so much -- "

That got Myra's attention. She looked up from her sorting.

"And something red -- I know, my Audre Lorde shirt" said Ginny. "'Your silence will not protect you.'"

"It's sleeveless, shows part of your breasts" said Myra.


"No complaints from me. Ginny, there's nothing here for Gillam, not a thing."

"That tie-dye shirt Allie gave him is gorgeous on him, and he likes it. He's enough of a statement all by himself. Aren't you, sugar boy?" said Ginny, rubbing her face on Gillam's belly.

"I want tie-dye too!" said Margie.

Myra looked at her. "You do have one -- is it okay if you and Gillam are dressed alike?"

"Tie-dye" said Margie, disrupting the piles looking for it.

"Here, stop that, here it is" said Myra. "No, not right now, this is for Saturday and the March. Go find the shorts you want to wear with it."

As Myra began putting shirts back in the dresser, she said to Ginny "You need to make some silk screens for these kids."

"Yeah, in all my free time, I'll hop right on it" said Ginny. "Here, take your son, I'm going to finish cleaning the kitchen."

The morning of the March, Myra had gear spread all over the dining table, with the Margie-sized stroller beside it and Gillam's Snugli draped over a chair.

"Lookit all this crap!" she said. "We can't leave the house any more without mounting an expedition."

Ginny tried to find items that could be culled. Wipes, a change of pants for each child, sunblock, juice, water, healthy snacks, camera...at least they didn't have to carry diapers this year.

"Fill the daypack and hang it off the back of the stroller, it's easier to push than to carry" said Ginny. "I wish the rest were marching with us."

"Yeah, me too. But they really wanted to drum again, and Gillam just can't handle that level of noise yet. I told them we'd meet them at the Water Tower once we got there."

"Is their contigent ahead of the Mothers contingent or behind?"

"Behind, I think. We need hats for the kids, too."

"Got 'em. You want one?"

"No, just sunglasses. And even that goes against my Texan ethic -- s'posed to be nothing between me and the sun."

"Carcinoma girl. Okay, Margie and Gillam, let's go potty one last time."

At the staging area, they kept running into women they knew and chatting for a bit, letting everybody admire the children. Gillam's floppy green hat forced him to crane his neck up to look people in the eyes, and Myra thought he could not have been cuter. Ginny finally spotted a cluster of strollers in the distance and they headed in that direction.

As soon as they got to the Mother's contingent, Myra came face to face with Karin Barbaras. She was sitting in a sporty wheelchair with a double stroller in front of her. One-year-old twin boys were belted into the stroller.

"Hi, Karin" said Myra. "Are these your kids?"

"Yeah. This is Jonah and Isaac."

"Wow, I didn't know you had kids." Myra felt a little lightheaded.

"My partner gave birth. Claudia." Karin waved toward a small, sandy-haired woman talking to someone a few feet away. Claudia gave them a sideways glance; she didn't look friendly.

"Well, this is our youngest, Gillam -- say hi, Gillam. And that's Margie in the stroller. And -- this is Ginny, my partner." Myra suddenly remembered Ginny. "Ginny, this is Karin Barbaras."

Karin stretched out and shook Ginny's hand. Ginny was casing her with that artist's eye of hers.

Karin didn't seem to have anything more to say, so Myra said "Well, nice to see you. Congrats on the kids."

"Thanks, you too." Karin was looking over at Claudia. Myra walked to the back of the contingent and turned around, gazing at Karin from behind. It took Ginny a little longer to reach their position, since she was negotiating the stroller. When she got to Myra's side, she said "So that was her."


"Do you know her partner?"


"Gillam's trying to get your attention."

Myra looked down at him. "What, honey?"

"I'm firsty."

"Okay, I'll get you a drink of water." Myra bent down to get into the pack on the stroller. She felt Ginny's hand on her low back, and when she stood back up, Ginny moved in to face her.

"Myra...she's really beautiful."

"Yes, she certainly is. And she made it clear she had no interest whatsoever in conversation with me."

"Claudia didn't much like you either, could you tell?" Ginny was grinning.

"I'm surprised the two little boys didn't spit on my feet."

"You need to be here with us, Myra. We adore you and we all want to be with more than anything, for the rest of our lives. Set it aside until we're home alone and I'll hear how much it hurts then."

Myra looked into Ginny's eyes. Gillam was poking at Ginny's stomach, giggling. They kissed briefly and Myra said "I'm here." She twisted the top off the water bottle and gave Gillam a long drink. She tucked the bottle into the side of his Snugli as the contigent finally began moving.

Margie treated the March as if was a pageant and she its queen. She waved at everybody on the sidelines and kept yelling "Hi!" as if they were old friends. Gillam was bemused and sucked on his fingers. Myra stuck close to Ginny, enjoying bumping hips with her. About halfway along the route, Myra heard far behind them a cacophony of drums start up, and her pulse increased.

When they got to the park, Margie spotted a vendor selling cotton candy and began screeching for some of her own. Ginny attempted to steer away from the temptation, but Margie tried to get out of the stroller as it was moving and had to be caught by Myra just before she fell on her face. It was fine with Myra if Margie screamed her lungs out -- it was so noisy here, who the fuck cared. But Ginny, out of character for her, offered a bribe: A brightly colored pinwheel from a nearby stand. Margie let herself be bought off in a heartbeat. After that she wanted to be carried, so she could wave her pinwheel and threaten the eyesight of people nearby. Myra passed Gillam and the Snugli over to Ginny, and took Margie onto her shoulders -- she had wider shoulders to balance Margie on.

When they passed a huge booth stacked with T-shirts, Myra veered toward it, motioning for Ginny to follow. She asked the man behind the table if they had children's shirts, and he pointed to the end. Bending down to keep Margie from bumping against the canopy, Myra began scanning the designs. Ginny joined her, and had free hands to look at sizes.

Margie pointed with her pinwheel to a shirt and said "That one, I want that one, Mama." Myra looked and saw a lavender shirt with lace at the sleeves that read "I do believe in fairies". There was a rather nelly-looking fairy floating in the foreground.

"Oh, god, Margie, it's a total cliche, and hyperfeminine to boot" protested Myra. "Let's find you something with a little more substance, okay?"

Margie began whining "I want the fairy shirt!" Myra picked up a heather grey Tee with "Dyke" on it in purple block letters -- "How about this one, Margie? Look, it's like your mamas."

Margie's whine progressed to a wail. "I want the fairy shirt!"

"Oh, hell. Find her size, Ginny, will you? Hush, Margie, okay, we're getting you one." Then Myra added "See if they have this Dyke one in a size for Gillam."

Ginny was grinning from ear to ear, but said nothing. She handed the shirts to the booth attendant and paid for them, then said "Put Margie down for a minute so I can get her changed."

After both children were in their new shirts, Myra went on looking at the adult designs for a bit. Ginny turned to face the crowd passing by, watching for their friends, her hip pressed up next to Myra's. At one point, Myra turned to asked her what she thought about a design, and after Ginny answered, she leaned in for a kiss. It turned into a long, sideways kiss, with Margie using the lean as an opportunity to touch the top of Gillam's head with her pinwheel. Gillam, however, was facing the crowd, looking solemnly up under the brim of his hat at the photographer who snapped their picture, the "Dyke" on Gillam's shirt framing the bottom of the shot. This photograph ran in the paper the next day with the story of the March. Myra was able to track down the original and buy copies. It hung framed over her desk the rest of her life, her family captured at that second in time, Ginny's face given over to the pleasure of a kiss.

Late June 1992

Ginny came in from the back yard where she had been working in the garden. Myra was opening a big can of albacore.

"What's for lunch?"

"Tuna sandwiches with avocado slices."

"What's that wonderful smell, then?" Ginny walked over to the stove.

"You know how Margie hates onions in her tuna, so I chopped some up real fine and sauteed them in butter. I think they'll pass."

"Is this grated carrot in there?"

"Yes, and a dash of tamari and lemon grass."

Ginny laughed. "You know, I always just separate out her share and make it without anything in it."

Myra paused for a moment. "That would work, too."

"But this looks delish. Shall I toast the bread?"


"Margie, do you want Annie Oakley or Mary Poppins?" called Ginny.

"Annie Oakley" Margie said. After a moment, Myra said "Ask Gillam, too." But he was already in the kitchen and said "Annie Oatley" to Ginny.

Sandwiches complete, Ginny began pouring juice. Myra went to check the mail and came back looking a little pale.

"It's a letter from the Astraea Foundation, Ginny."

"Open it."

Myra read it with hands that were visibly shaking. She looked up at Ginny with a completely blank expression on her face.

"I....won. I won the Astraea. Fuck me running. I WON!"

Ginny jumped up and down, then snatched the letter from Myra and read it out loud.

"What is Apraya?" asked Margie. Gillam was looking a little frightened.

"It's a PRIZE. Mama just won a big-ass lesbian prize for her poetry!" crowed Ginny.

"I'm a poet. For real, I'm a poet for real now." Myra had picked up Gillam and was kissing his face over and over. He still looked worried.

"You always were a poet, moron."

"You know what I mean."

"I do."

Even though Margie declared the tuna salad yucky and refused to take one more bite, nobody cared. Ginny gave her peanut butter and crackers, and the children got very little attention otherwise. Ginny and Myra were discussing which of their friends to invite for a celebratory dinner as they cleared the table. Margie was carrying her own juice glass to the kitchen when she stumbled on the edge between the parquet and the kitchen floor. She caught herself but the glass flew onto the flagstone and broke into shards.

"Fuck me running" said Margie emphatically.

Gillam immediately repeated it.

"Nobody move!" yelled Myra. "Now -- Margie, Gillam -- take two giant steps backward."

"Mother may I?" chanted Margie.

"Yes you may."

Ginny was picking up the larger pieces of glass and laying them on a paper towel.

Myra pointed up the stairs. "Go brush your teeth and then wait in your room. We need to have a talk."

Margie face started to crumple. Myra said, "No, no, you are not in trouble for breaking the glass, that was an accident. It's okay. Just go so we can clean this up safely, okay?"

The children left, subdued. Myra got out the broom and said "Me with my fucks and you with your shits...I guess it's time to stop the potty mouth."

They finally agreed to just use the reminder "language" when anybody swore, and if the reminder did not work, then time-outs would be issued. Up in the children's bedroom, they did role-playing.

"Now, Mama and I are going to have a pretend conversation. And if one of us says a bad word, you see if you know which one it is and practice reminding us, nicely, with 'Language'. Okay?"

Myra began. "I really treasure getting to share this honor with you, as it came in the door. It was fucking awesome you were there."

"Language" said Ginny. Margie jumped in: "Fuckeen? Is fuckeen the bad word?"

Myra fought back laughing as she replied gravely, "Yes. Point taken and appreciated. Next time I will say 'very'."

Ginny took a turn. "I loved how much effort you spent on the tuna salad, it was damned tasty." Margie scowled.

"Language!" declared Myra. "Damned is not a nice word for company."

"Point taken and appreciated" responded Ginny. "What should I have used instead?"

"Peanut butter?" offered Gillam.

Myra and Ginny lost all hope of being serious. "We'll work on it as we go along. Now let's go plan a party" said Ginny.

May 1993 -- Margie is 4.5, Gillam is 2

The children crawled into bed with them at 6:30. Myra was able to steal five more minutes of half-sleep before Gillam's snuggling had one too many knees and elbows for comfort. She sat up and slid out of bed. Yawning loudly, Ginny joined her. They went into the children's room and pulled out shorts and T-shirts for each of them.

Ginny had Margie completely dressed and shod way ahead of Myra with Gillam. It wasn't just how groggy Myra was, it was Gillam's lack of interest in cooperating. Margie was in district attorney mode, with Ginny, as always, her star witness.

"How old do you have to be to have girlfriends?"

"Or boyfriends." Ginny stretched her back, looking around the room. "Dating age for you will be when you are no longer fertile, I think."

"Boyfriends? Did you ever have a boyfriend?"

Ginny picked up the pajamas she had just pulled off Margie and checked them for stains. "No."

"Did Mama?"

Myra answered. "No." But Margie was focused on Ginny.

"Did you ever have girlfriends?" Myra can tell Margie thinks she knows the answer to this. She thinks her mothers have been together all their lives.

"Yes, three."

"Three?" Margie is doing higher math. She looks around to see if this revelation is news to Myra. Nope. She turns back to Ginny.

"You had girlfriends before Mama?"

"I surely did. So did Mama. Though in her case, thy name is legion." Ginny began stripping sheets and pillowcases off the children's beds. Myra was trying to get Gillam's feet still enough to put on socks.

"Do I know any of them?"

"No. We haven't kept up."

Margie turned to eye Myra. Myra put up a hand and said, "Yes, you do know some of mine, but I'm not giving you names. Ginny's head will explode, and besides, you'll have more fun secretly trying to guess who they are."

Margie giggled. Myra had her number. Ginny knelt on the floor to retrieve laundry from under the beds. Myra moved on to attempting shoe-tying on a foot waving in the air. Gillam was softly singing the overture from "Brigadoon", but since the only word he knew was brigadoon, he made it fill in for all the lyrics.

Ginny walked into the bathroom and began yanking towels from the hooks. Margie trailed after her.

"Are you glad Mama is your girlfriend now?" asked Margie.


Myra looked up, wishing that answer was a little more expository. Ginny was emptying the hamper onto the pile of sheets on the floor, which was in turn on a single sheet spread out underneath all the laundry. When she bent over to pull up the corners of the bottom sheet and tie the whole thing into a Santa bundle, her yoni flashed in Myra's face, dusky rose fringed with black.

As Ginny staggered to the door with her burden, Margie stood in her way. "Move, honey" she said.

Margie stepped to one side, then asked Ginny's back "How come none of those other girlfriends lasted, Mama?"

Ginny's answer came back from the top of the stairs. "Cowardice born of their own self-denigration."

Margie turned to Myra. "I don't know what that means."

Myra set Gillam on his feet, saying "Thairrrr ya go, laddie." Then she answered Margie, "It's a new one to me, too, cupcake. I'll get back to you on it. Let's go, things to do."

Margie cut in front of Gillam to make sure she led the way downstairs. "Mama always gives short answers when she's doing housework."

"Yes, but they're honest answers, let's count our blessings."

Gillam began counting out loud for every stair tread. Margie ran on ahead, and Myra slowed down to make sure Gillam paid enough attention to his descent. He kept repeating five intermittently.

After breakfast, Myra began carrying dishes to the sink. "Margie and Gillam -- upstairs to brush your toothies. Margie, you put Gillam's toothpaste on his brush for him. And not too much, no more dog with rabies games." The children scrambled upstairs on all fours.

Ginny held onto her cranberry juice, nursing it like a broke drunk. She looked thoughtful, finally said "Myra, we need to talk."

Myra dropped the bowl she was about to rinse. Plastic, thank god. When she stood back up and looked at Ginny over the breakfast bar, Ginny was still staring off into space. Myra came over and sat down at the table.

"I'm not doing enough painting. Are you doing enough writing?"

Where was this going? Myra's hands were trembling. Suck it up, she thought. "Honestly, no. But that will change when the children are not so high-maintenance, I figure."

Ginny laughed, a real laugh, and at last met Myra's eyes. "These children? When are they ever not going to be high-maintenance? They are our children, angel."

"Well, what are you driving at then? Time-sharing them out?"

Ginny raised an eyebrow. Myra suddenly wanted to lunge over and kiss her. "No, I'm thinking Mary Poppins."

"Oho." Myra sat back, relief complete. "A nanny."

"We have the room next to theirs for a live-in. You gots the dinero, I gots the urge to sleep past seven a.m. every day."

"Or at least have the bedroom to ourselves." Myra was back on solid ground.


Myra returned to the dishes. "Let's do it. Do we write an ad for the London Times or what?"

"Actually, Pat and Patty might know of somebody. Their friends Barb and Noni have children who are going into middle school, and their nanny, well, she's really like a member of the family -- anyhow, she might be looking for another place. I don't know the grown-ups very well, but the kids are great, I taught one of them art back when I was teaching. So that's one personal reference right there."

"What do we do, interview her? Feels kinda blind datey to me."

Ginny came over and leaned on the counter next to the sink.

"There's a process to it. I'll teach you what I know, then we'll sort out how we want to do it. It's a class thing."

From anyone else on earth, this would have stirred up a nasty set of muck inside Myra. But Ginny -- Ginny just meant what she said, no judgment. Myra kissed her lightly and said, "Thanks. What's her name?"

"Hannah something."



They could hear the children racketing back downstairs. Ginny said quietly, "Okay, I'll start the calls, you take the kids for a while."

"P.L. Travers, here we come" said Myra, drying her hands and sneaking in one more kiss.

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