Size Husky
by Kevin Ridgeway

It made my ears tingle and I held back
nervous vomit whenever my mother said
those words too loudly in the boy's clothing
aisle of JC Penney, the stench of death in
the air when she held up wide pairs of junior
denim pants like maps for wars that I could
not win, while other kids and their mothers
laughed and mocked me in Spanish.

My older brother got slapped once after
calling her a bitch for saying those words
in reference to his own expanding waist line,
so I knew I couldn't fight dirty and had to
remain patient with her as she ruined my
social life before the school year even began,
calling out my name and asking me what
size underwear I wore as I peeked out of
flimsy dressing room curtains that did little
to hide my shame, and I shuddered while
trying to remember all the details for the
day when I would be able to afford therapy,
a licensed professional staring off into space
and daydreaming while I blubbered into a
Kleenex linked to my nose by one long
hair of angst-ridden snot.

Copyright 2024 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.