An excerpt from “Paradox”, in Danila Botha’s Got No Secrets

Paradox

“Mother, mother, can you hear me? Sure I’m sober, sure I’m sane.

Life is perfect, never better, still your daughter, still the same.

My mother calls me immediately after dinner. My cellphone’s ring beats at my brain like a jackhammer; even though I have call display, I pick it up, just to make it shut up. She doesn’t know about anything that goes on in my life. She doesn’t know what subjects I’m taking, what I like studying, what I do any night of the week. She just wants to know that her investment is working out well—that her daughter will one day become a respected professional that is actually worth something. I hope I don’t live that long. I tell her that I’m fine, that the test went well, that I’m going to have to spend another night at the library. Another project for my abnormal psychology class. A lot of research. Periodicals, you know. I’ll probably see her in the morning, maybe.

I can’t believe she buys it.