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August 17, 2002
My mother never smiled. Except once when she handed me an envelope from a college I’d applied to. Her smile grew as I read the acceptance. We never hugged. Even at that hug-appropriate moment, instead she awkwardly placed her hand on my arm in a congratulatory handshake kind of way. Her smile insinuated prior knowledge of the acceptance. The seal indicated a resealing – I assume she’d sliced open the letter with the short-bladed knife she used to clean fish, and then glued it back. Perch scales and Elmer’s never before helped to contain such bursting pride, such subtle awkward love.