Nesrin removed the Colombina mask she’d worn to the parade as she, Isabelle, and Jason walked back into their apartment. She held it up to watch the light dance in the red, orange, and yellow sequins that formed a dancing flame design over a background of black felt. When she’d played long enough, her eyes glowed gold and the mask disappeared back into storage. On the way to change out of her parade attire she walked passed Isabelle’s room. The door was open and Nesrin happened to catch sight of Isabelle sitting on the edge of her bed.
Isabelle hadn’t taken off the Mardi Gras beads she’d collected at the parade. She was holding a book and a pen, and she was brooding over a page with an intense look of contemplation.
Nesrin knocked on the door. Isabelle looked up, smiled, and motioned with her head for Nesrin to come in. As she got closer she saw the book was Isabelle’s journal. The page contained a rough sketch of Isabelle’s birth mother with a large question mark beside it.
Nesrin sat down beside her roommate. “You know we can return to Arizona and see her again whenever you wish.”
Isabelle nodded. “Yo se. Might take you up on that if I thought I could speak to her this time.” Her fingers traced the question mark beside her mother’s picture. “Madre, our adopted madre, says who we are is whatever story we write, but there’s more to it than that. I’m just a chapter. I wanna know what the rest of the book was about.”