Inward Spiral

“My grandmother had a bible with a family tree,” I get up and retrieve it from the desk, “See, a family tree from the two Mallory girls to me.”

“Matrilinial,” Erik says.

“Matra-what?” I ask.

“Matrilinial,” Alex repeats, “Where the family line is traced through the women.” She looks at Erik. I am not sure if she is seeking conformation, or if that is actually a look of admiration.

Erik nods in agreement, “The Cherokee nations where . . . are matrilinial. My family hasn’t lived on the reservation since I was small,” he says sitting on the bed, “dad moved us to Portland a long time ago for a welding job. We never went back. My grandmother is still considered the ‘elder’ of the house though. She knows more about all of this than I do.”

“That seems sad,” Alex says, “you’ve lost touch with your heritage?”

“Don’t get me started about my heritage, white girl,” He tosses the insult at her like a low softball pitch. Alex purses her lips at him and he smiles.

The doorbell rings, and I realize the pizza is here.

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