“Nice costume,” she said admiringly, looking me up and down. “Where’s Rafe?”
“He’s coming,” I said, grinning to myself. If she liked my getup, wait until she saw Rafe. I yanked off my wig and fluffed out my hair. I tossed the wig onto a coffee table, knowing my mother would pick it up later. I slipped out of my shoes as well as was the custom in an Asian household. I never understood the reason for wearing shoes in a house, but I did it when I visited an American friend’s place if she or he insisted. In my home, however, they were asked to remove their shoes. My house, my rules.
“Your father is worried sick about you,” my mother scolded, leading me into the living room. Of course, the television was on, and she was looking for more news on Lydia’s murder. “Bob, say hello to your daughter.” Dad looked up from the television and silently gave me the once-over.
“You all right?” He asked, not commenting on my costume. When I nodded, he returned to the television. He wasn’t much of a talker unless you got him drunk and talking about the Vietnam war, but he always managed to convey that he cared without saying it in actual words.
“Ramona, Howie, and Henry called,” my mother reported, sinking into the couch next to dad. “They wanted to know that you were ok. I told them to call later so they could talk to you themselves.”
I sighed, trying not to feel put upon. I loved my siblings, but I always felt more like their mother than their sister. My mom is great, but she’s short on practicality. I was the one who made sure my siblings were clothed and fed on a daily basis. They were probably rattled about this murder thing which meant that I would have to spend a great deal of time placating them—the last thing I wanted to do. I was tempted to tell my mother that she could talk to them, damn it, but I knew that that wouldn’t go over well with her. Family was family. Just as Beezus always had to take care of Ramona, I was responsible for my younger siblings. I usually didn’t resent it, but I did tonight. I excused myself for a minute and went to the bathroom so I could unbind my breasts. I heaved a relieved sigh before returning to the living room.