Before the private concert
A stranger’s bedroom
Summer 1997
I’m twenty-three
I’m the musician
The performer
The one to watch
And to hear, hopefully
I zip on silver silk cocktail dress
It fits and it flares
Over my slim roundedness
I like my body
Lovely breasts
Tiny waist
Mum and Dad arrive
An obligatory audience
Mum is always reticent
Ever-present
Ever-jealous
Ever-frowning
She bursts into the bedroom
Gives me the once over
And shrieks in disgust:
“Look at you!
Your dress is too tight,
You’re bursting out of it!”
About to perform to dozens
My gut lurches
I say nothing
Hold composure
Stare deadly at her
It would be ten years
Until anyone told me
She was abusive

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