She turned from the mirror, still brushing her hair: ten, eleven, twelve. Clothes put away, bed as tautly made as a soldier’s; big fat, faded Pooh-Bear, showing his advanced years, propped on the lone pillow; Mother’s seascape behind the bed the only splash of real color on pale peach wallpaper. Not to complain about the watercolor, but all her friends had puffy pillows, bedspreads and drapes in bold colors, and rock groups’ posters on their walls.
“Mother,” she’d complained last week, “my room is so juvenile!”
“Amelia, when you get to college in another year, you can decorate your room however you’d like.”
Mother was a control freak. Like being at the front door to welcome her home after her first date. Dad tried: “Carol, you’ll drive them into the car,” he said next morning. Mother cut him short. “Henry, we will not have that conversation at the breakfast table. Besides, Amelia isn’t that kind of girl.” And she continued to o wait up as though a doorstep kiss was a crime.
Forty, forty-one. On the next movie date, she had Jerry stop for a few minutes a block before the house. “Your lipstick is smudged,” Mother said the minute she closed the door on the poor boy. So Millie learned to put on fresh lipstick before they drove the last block.