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show milk crates full of LPs shoved side by side under her bed next to a blue Zenith record player. “Do you like The Beatles?” I asked breathlessly. I’d brought two 45s that Margaret had lent me, and now I was glad to know I was going to get to play them. Rose’s smile faltered for the first time. “They’re alright. Do you like Neil Diamond?” I rolled my eyes without thinking, but Rose had already looked away. Neil Diamond was the first new record my mother had bought in almost ten years. “He’s fine,” I answered. Rose pulled the record player out and fished the record from its sleeve. The first few notes of “Sweet Caroline” started up and I sat down on what would now be my bed. “I mean his music’s fine. I know everyone thinks he’s a hunk and all. . .” Rose shook her head knowingly and let her eyes flutter. “I know! The other Sisters go on and on about him and I . . .” she continued insistently, “I just like the songs.” I tried, really tried, to see what she liked about it, and she just sat on the floor smiling up at me expectantly. I laughed. Something about her easy smile made me giddy, despite the cold. “How can you stay so cheery when it’s colder than the North Pole up here? Is it like this all the time?” I asked. Rose shrugged and reached her hand out. I grabbed it and helped pull her up. She sat on the creaky bed next to me and wrapped one arm around me. “You’ll get used to it. People can get used to anything.” I didn’t believe her, but then again, as we sat there on my bed, her hand rubbing some warmth into my back, I started to get Neil Diamond. I always thought this song was such a drag, probably something he wrote in five minutes for a groupie. But suddenly I could hear the strings and the backup singers in perfect harmony, and suddenly I could hear the words. How had I never listened to the words? I started to laugh. “What?” Rose asked, wrinkling her nose with another grin. I stood up and offered my hand. “Do you know how to dance?”

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Profile for Red Cedar Review

Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

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