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144 26 ~ Pippa Washing the breakfast dishes the next morning, Pippa sensed she wasn’t alone and turned. Francie stood in the doorway, the palms of her hands pressed against both sides of the doorframe. Like she was holding up the whole house. “What’s with the black?” Francie asked. Getting dressed for the court hearing hadn’t been simple. The public defender had instructed her to dress conservatively. “Look young and innocent,” he’d said. “Wear muted colors. Pastels.” Pippa wanted to make a good impression, but couldn’t figure out how to put on panty hose with the ankle monitor. She tried threading the thin fabric under the strap, but there wasn’t enough space. She tried wearing the stockings on top, but a corner snagged the stocking and caused a run. Finally she gave up and wore her usual thin white sock under the monitor and pulled black knee-highs over it all, hidden by a long black skirt. Pippa couldn’t believe she had been brought to the verge of tears over something that stupid. Don’t waste your tears on trifles, Ma used to say. Save them for when they count. “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the lawyer advised.” Pippa concentrated on scrubbing the oatmeal crust on the cast iron pot. “I feel like wearing black. I am not a pastel kind of girl, number one. And number two, I’m mourning a murdered cat.” And a dead daughter. “You’re attending a hearing about the murder of your child. You might want to modify your fashion statement.” “Criminal neglect,” Pippa said. “I’m not charged with murder.” “Same thing, as far as a jury is concerned. If you belong to an evil religious cult.” Francie pivoted and left. Pippa dried her hands, then pressed her flushed cheek against the cold glass of the window in the back door. It had snowed again last night, and she couldn’t stop Ellen Meeropol ~ 145 thinking about the park. She pictured the flakes settling on the teardrop-shaped rhododendron leaves, muffling the winter rustlings of birds and small animals. She squeezed her eyes shut to erase the image of Abby’s slight form under two layers of blanket sleeper, red against the white coverlet of snow. It was none of their business. Not the lawyers or the judge or Nan Malloy or any of them, even Emily. It was not their concern what color clothes she wore to court. Or who she was mourning. ...


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MARC Record
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