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Suzie’s House 500 : Rights

Suzie's House

“When you catch yourself thinking the kind of stupid things your brother would say, tell yourself, ‘I have a right to be myself. Nothing anyone says can change that.’” He made air quotes.

“You’ll probably have to tell yourself a lot of times.” Sonoma agreed. “Along with things like, “I have a right to be here.” “I have a right to be heard.” and “I have a right to be loved.”

“But… What if I don’t?” Emma’s voice rose enough to make her throat hurt. She couldn’t think of an example right off the top of her head, but Emma was pretty there were limits. It was all kind of murky.

“Dear.” Trent patted her hand. “You always have all of those rights.”

Emma didn’t believe it, but she didn’t dare say anything.

Both of the old people sat as if waiting expectantly. When she didn’t say anything, Sonoma said, “You’re welcome to argue with us if you don’t believe it. After all, you have a right to be heard.” She grinned like it was a big joke.

“But what if I say the wrong thing?”

“What’s the wrong thing?” Neither of them seemed the least bit offended that she talked back.

“I… I… mean, what if I say something mean?”

“Then I will exercise my right to ignore you.”

“And if.. if I KEEP saying it?”

“Then maybe I’ll actually do my part and listen. Maybe I’ll have an idea that will help, or will say something to make you change your mind.” Sonoma looked thoughtful.

“Or not. Your right to be heard ends somewhere between your fist and my nose. None of this stuff is infinite.” Trent bit into a cookie he’d been examining. “Mmm! This is real tasty. Can you believe it’s organic?”

“Suzie’s amazing.” Sonoma agreed affably.

Emma nodded. She wasn’t quite sure what she was nodding about – the limits to rights, or Mrs. H’s great cooking.

“A lot of the time what you need most is just to step back and calm down. If you can see the funny side of things, then even the worst problems won’t hurt so much.” Sonoma looked at Emma with an earnest caring, like the way a grandmother should be.

Emma nodded again.

“Seems to me you have a great group of friends. They been helping you?” Trent’s turn to be caring.

Emma nodded. At this rate she would nod her head right off. She was starting to feel like an idiot. But it wasn’t like she was nodding to be agreeable. Her friends really were life savers. When she really needed them, they came through for her over and over. She cleared her throat.

“Y-yeah. They… if it weren’t for the band, I would have never had the nerve to stand up for myself. And then… and then when I did… my mother a-a-actually took my side! And my brother came home drunk. S-so then my father put him in the car and drove away and we didn’t know anything else about either of them for months.”

“Wow. That would be hard!” Trent looked amazed, like she’d been through something big. “For all that time you wouldn’t know if it was safe or not. And then there would be times you’d actually miss them. Maybe not your brother, but your father. And without them there, who are you?”

Though the guys in the band knew it was big for her, this was the first time anyone had laid it all out like that. She felt a weight come off her shoulders. She took a cookie, and smiled. “Yeah.”

”So who are you now? Big Jim said it was months since your father left him in Des Moins. You must have had your first chance to really spread your wings. Who did you become?”

Emma grinned. This was a topic she could actually navigate.

“A singer! I.. I became a singer!”

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