Pearl

It was a slight, old woman in a pie shop off the highway who told me who my grandmother was. I barely saw her over the counter but she propped herself up with one foot on the skirting board and pointed at me accusingly.

‘You’re a Kresinger,’ she spat. ‘I have something for you.’  She tried to put what looked like a wood whistle in my palm.

‘No,’ I said. ‘My grandmother was Marie. Passed now, but she’s my grandmother.’

‘Cousin,’ the woman said. ‘That was your grandmother’s cousin.’

I tugged at the traffic all the way back to the city, and quickly found my father — on the back stairs, painting — who denied it. He spilt paint three times on his boot so I went back. The shop owner told me a story, starting with my grandmother’s real name, Pearl:

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