“Teresa,” her mother’s voice echoed off the school yard walls. “Teresa. Dinner time.”
The ball rolled ’round the rim three times before falling off to the side. Terry clapped her hands in disgust.
“Guess you blew the game, hotshot,” Jack teased her as they lunged for the rebound.
“Fat chance,” Terry laughed as she leaned back for the perfect fade away jumper. “Swish.”
The chains rattled from the metal rim as the ball dropped through.
“Teresa.” The volume increased and she knew this was her final warning.
“Alright, Ma,” under her breath. “See you later, guys.”
The young girl jogged across the pavement, over the grassy knoll which served as a softball field for gym class, between several parked cars, down the alley home, just in time.
“Teresa, I’ve been calling,” her mother scolded her at the door, giving her a not so playful swat on the fanny as Teresa sidestepped the predictable punishment.
Rene was seated at the table already, prim, proper, and worst of all, clean. It was disgusting having a sister like her. Of course, Rene felt the same way about Teresa. Coming into the kitchen, Terry leaped to touch the door jam, a ritual established two years ago when she got her first basketball. She remembered the day when she finally made contact with more than air and since then assorted sets of smudges and prints verified how she jumping ability improved. She leaped through the door and straddled the chair like a coach in the locker room.
Fwap. She felt her mother’s hand slap the back of her head.
“You come home late, and filthy, the least you can do is pretend to be a lady.”
Momma grabbed the chair before the girl had a chance to get to her feet. Teresa stumbled and almost fell down. Rene chuckled behind her dainty cupped hand.
“Sit up.” Grabbing her by the scuff of the neck, “it’s hard enough being a mother to such a daughter. You should have been a boy the way you go on. Maybe if you’d been a son your father would…”
Momma’s voice cracked, one moment yelling then crying in frustration. Tears were wiped hastily with the edge of her flowered apron. When the girls heard the sobs they fell silent. Teresa sat up properly in her chair. Turning the fork in her hand so as not to stab at her lima beans. Rene started to tear up but fought her emotions. Both daughters hated to see their mother like this. Hardly remembering their father, they never missed him. Only Momma cried.
“Tomorrow I’m speaking with the Mother Superior. No more after school playground, and…”