This scene from Her Daughter’s Dream is a longer version of the one that appears in chapter 28 and would begin on p. 257. Dawn and Carolyn are talking about why Carolyn doesn’t attend church.
“AA isn’t the same as church, Mom.”
“How would you know?”
Dawn hadn’t meant to sound critical. This was the first time her mom had talked to her about anything remotely personal. Dawn didn’t want to ruin it. “Is it?”
“For me, it’s better.” She gave Dawn a bleak smile. “We all know we’re sinners in AA. No one wears a mask.”
“You’ve been going to meetings for as long as I can remember, and I’ve never even seen you with a drink in your hand. Not once, Mom. Not ever.” Granny had been the one to tell her how bad it had been in Haight-Ashbury. But how would Granny know? Had Mom talked about it?
“That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when I don’t crave one.” Mom turned on the radio. “Why don’t you pick a station?”
Dawn turned it off. “I’d rather we talked.”
“O . . . kay.”
Her mother spoke the word slowly, her expression closing. Well, how many times had they started a conversation and ended up in an argument? A flood of questions poured into Dawn’s head. She didn’t know where to start or how. Her mother’s hands shifted on the steering wheel again, knuckles tightening. The air between them filled with tension. Dawn plucked at her jeans. Maybe if she shared something important, her mother would also. “I had a crush on Jason Steward all last year.”
“I still do.”
Her mother’s hands loosened and she released a soft sigh. “Crushes usually die, given a little time.”
Dawn looked at her. “What if I don’t want it to die?”
Her mother gave her a worried glance. “Guard your heart, May Flower Dawn.”
How long since her mother had called her by that name? Her mother said it tenderly. “He’s a good person, Mom. You’d like him.”
“Probably, but then I’m not a great judge of character.” She pushed a blonde curl behind her ear and stared straight ahead.
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. You picked Mitch.”
Mom smiled. “Actually, Mitch picked me.”
“Did you ever have a crush on anyone before him?”
Her mother’s mouth tipped in a sad smile. “A long time ago, I became infatuated with a very handsome young man. He was charismatic. He talked about peace all the time. Everyone was in love with him, not just me.”
He sounded like Jason Steward. Dawn turned toward her. “And?”
“He turned out to be the devil in disguise.”
Dawn’s heart beat fast. She felt a tremor run through her body. She slid her hands under her thighs and stared out the front window. Headlights flashed by on the other side of the highway. “Was he my father?”
“No. He wasn’t.” Her mother reached out and pushed the radio button, flooding the car with classical music. Dawn wanted to ask the obvious question, but the tear sliding down her mother’s cheek stopped her. They rode the rest of the way home without speaking.