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Diane D. Gillette

Papa and Mummy take us ice skating for my birthday. Mummy swathes herself in her fur stole

and waves to us. She's perched on the park bench and sips something bubbly. Papa holds a hand each so that when Sissy and I take off in opposite directions, we stretch his arms wide between us. We spin until we’re dizzy and joy tickles my tongue, little giggle bubbles escape. We are all laughing and gliding and everything is perfect. By the third trip around, Mummy no longer waves. Her bench is empty. Tired, Papa says, She probably just went to powder her fine porcelain nose and put her curls back into place. On the way home, he buys us cups of hot chocolate. Whipped cream sticks in his beard. I can’t help but laugh, even as he says Mummy will surely be waiting for us at home. Sissy squeezes my fingers until they hurt. At home, Mummy still isn't there, but Sissy shows me how to cut out paper dolls holding hands, taking time to trim three of the dolls so their hair matches me and Sissy, Papa between us. She waves the dolls around so they get whiplash. Then she snips the head off a fourth doll and flicks it out the window to the winter-ravaged garden below.

Diane D. Gillette (she/her) mostly writes short things. She lives, teaches, and writes in Chicago. Read more of her work at

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