Laura told me having a dead mother was better than a nonexistent mother. My mother’s depression made me look at mothers more closely. Whenever Laura came home with her hair unbraided, I wondered why her mother did not braid her hair; my mother had insisted upon that, but my hair too was no longer braided.

            One day after I saw Laura come to school with the same clothes for the fourth time in a row, I decided to ask her where her mother was.

            I don’t know, Laura stared at me and then at her drawing. I don’t remember her that much anymore. She simply stared at me, but she was not seeing me because her eyes were empty. I thought she was seeing what she did remember of her mother, as I sometimes did when I stared in a mirror. I would have the same look in my eyes as well. For a brief moment, I thought I saw her eyes fill up with tears, but before I could be sure, she turned around. Her hair tickled my arm while she showed her drawing to our teacher with the smile of a girl that had forgotten to smile.

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