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Here Be Dragons – Fragment #85

She confesses to herself that she is drawn to Bryant’s smile and blue eyes and the golden kiss of his skin and his hands, with slender fingers, always in motion when he speaks. He is beautiful – she has never been in a serious relationship with anyone so beautiful before. It seems like a miracle, a dream, a shimmering mirage that will disappear without a trace if she dares to consciously exhale.

She brings him to her parents’ for Thanksgiving dinner. After cornering her mother in the kitchen loading the dishwasher, Hilary sets about making coffee, busywork designed to deflect anticipated criticism.

At first, she doesn’t think her mother intends to answer – the top rack rattles in protest; coffee burbles; bits of words from bits of conversation drift in from the living room.

Then, just as Hilary is about to embark on another topic in an effort to remove the awkward silence from the room, her mother straightens up, makes eye contact with her daughter, and says, “He reminds me of an antique map, where you come to the end of the known world and the unknown part, the undiscovered part, is marked ‘Here be dragons.'”

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