By Patti Kim
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Extra info for A Cab Called Reliable: A Novel
When Boris's mother came in through the door saying something to Boris in Portuguese, I tried hard to remember my mother's song, wondering if the country girl ever got her silk slippers in the end. After seeing me at her window, Boris's mother walked into the kitchen telling the air it was natural and all right for a girl and boy to kiss as long as no one had a cough, sneeze, or sniffle. She filled a saucepan with water, placed it on the stove, and brought out four potatoes from the cabinet under the sink.
She smiled, nodded, and let me pass. A group of older girls walked by me. The tallest of the four wore bright yellow tights and shiny black shoes. She was giggling and talking about boys They hurried down the street toward the ABC Drug Store, where they would probably buy strawberry-flavored lip gloss, bubble gum, and fashion magazines. Before turning onto my street, I waited to see if the girls did go into the ABC. I clapped my hands in triumph as I watched them run across the parking lot and disappear through the double doors.
Leave me alone. I'm getting a drink. There were pink streaks on my father's arm. His pa-jama pants hung low underneath his belly. He combed his hair with his fingers and walked toward the kitchen. My mother followed. Again? You're drinking in the morning? Water, bitch. Fm getting water. Leave me alone. Drink in the shower. Are you not going to shut your mouth? Do you want me to smack it shut? My father swung his arm back and covered his ears. My mother followed him, but stopped. She stopped, turned, picked up the iron, and struck my father on the back of his head.