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All dress up games in the world for girls: Deep Water: ‘Between [Another Door]’ by Richard Blanco

[the door] Between playing dress-up, parading in his mother’s pleated skirt, marvelous as her clip-on ruby earrings, or noosed in his father’s necktie, cuffed by his wristwatch ticking with his pulse. [the door] Between playing house with his cousin’s Barbie dolls, or careening his toy truck through backyard mud. [the door] Between the coloring book prince he was supposed to be, and made to color in blue, or the princess dress he dreamed of wearing, colored in pink. [the door] Between the Wonder Woman lunchbox he pleaded for at KMart, or the Superman backpack his grandmother chose for him. [the door] Between his face slapped for putting on a plastic tiara at Craft World, or praised by his grandfather for wielding his plastic sword. [the door] Between cowboys shooting Indians with his brother’s cap gun, or sipping make-believe tea with his cat Ferby. [the door] Between what he could grow up to be: a doctor or nurse; a fireman or secretary; an astronaut or housewife; but never both. [the door] Between hula-hooping with the girls at recess, or dodging the boys who’d trip him, shove him, bruise him. [the door] Between the razzle-dazzle of pom-poms he longed to shake, or the boredom of football games he couldn’t follow. [the door] Between the soft wrist of the first girl he held hands with, or the stubble of the first man he kissed. [the door] Between mother’s head-bowed shame at the dinner table and his fear of father’s inch-wide belt on the hook. [the door] Between their small-talk about his homework, and their silences about his friends. [the door] Between lying to a priest upright in his chair, or lying with his truth on a therapist’s couch. [the door] Between playing it straight, or leaving town for the rest of his life. [the door] Between loving the only way he could love, or loving a gun to his head, or opening [another door].

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