That Girl

When Marlo Thomas wore the moniker, “That Girl” seemed to  have a better ring to it. Somehow, I don’t feel like “That girl” fits me very well. But over the last ten days, I’ve been called “That girl” far more than anything else.

“Do we need to get that girl?”

“That girl? Does she have it ready?”

“That girl, right there? Do I go with her?”

“Oh, that girl. Okay. She’s okay.”

The lesson I’ve learned over the last ten days that I’ve spent with my parents is very clear-cut. It doesn’t matter how much Dad reminds Mom of my name or my relationship to her. It doesn’t matter how many times he repeats my station in the family or the names of my children. It doesn’t matter if he drudges up past memories and whispers them to her in an attempt for her addled brain to recall them herself. I will only be “That girl” from now on.

And that’s okay. Because every time she uses those terms, “That girl,” she follows them up with a release of her shoulders and a wispy smile on her face, sometimes a pat on the back or a quick hug.

I might be “That girl,” but I’m also a safe fixture in her life and a person she trusts (although she’s not certain why).

I’ll take what I can get.

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Christina Consolino is a mother, dreamer, author, editor and teacher from Dayton, Ohio. She's a member of the Plot Sisters and teaches Anatomy & Physiology at Sinclair Community College. She writes literary women's fiction, personal essays and more.

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