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By George Bishop

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Example text

So after all this, he’s on the back porch, taking apart the ceiling fan. I hear him cursing and rattling metal. He’ll probably break something soon. It’s been almost fifteen hours, Liz. Fifteen. Do you know how hard this is on your parents? Can you imagine how this makes us feel? Do you even think of us at all? Missy’s parents, you like to say, let her do anything she wants. Missy’s parents let her go out with boys twice her age. Missy’s parents let her take vacations with friends to Cancún. Missy’s parents let her spend Christmas with her uncle in Aspen.

And this Nathaniel Hawthorne, how’d he get to know so much about women? The style was maddeningly long-winded, but the story was so true to life I could hardly believe it had been written over a hundred years ago. I kept turning to the front of the book to check the date. The cruel New England Puritans were perfect stand-ins for my parents, of course. And poor, brave Hester Prynne, standing up on that scaffold with her baby in her arms and that horrible red letter stuck on her chest—a charity case if I ever saw one.

My new roommate, Melissa Thayer from Hammond, watched as my mother hugged me goodbye, and my father, pushed forward by my mother, kissed me stiffly on the cheek. He gave me five dollars and they left. “Welcome to the nunnery,” Melissa said when they had all gone. She was tall and thin, with sharp features and an abrupt manner of speaking. “Laura Jenkins,” she said, looking me up and down. ” “Zachary,” I said. “Oh. Wow. Sorry,” Melissa said. What has been the most lonesome night in your life so far?

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