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She stands at the mic in front of the altar wearing a sleeveless, mid-length dress covered in yellow daisies, size 24, gold hoop earrings, flats. She wishes she could wear heels, stilettos, even, but she knows she doesn’t have the balance for it. She prays the curl in her auburn wig holds up under this humidity, hopes her heavy foundation doesn’t start dripping down her chin, creating a mocha-colored puddle on the terrazzo floor. The church is filling up. God, she wants this to go right. She’s been practicing for weeks, but with the damned hormones, she never knows what voice will come out when she opens her mouth. Her long fingers trace the tattoo on her upper arm, barbed wire encircling her atrophied bicep like a dainty bracelet. As accepting as the congregation is, perhaps she shouldn’t have gone sleeveless. But this old building doesn’t have air conditioning and besides, who would she be fooling?

Photo by Tabitha Turner on

This is a character study I wrote for a writing class. Help me finish her story: What happens next?

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