Saturday 25 June 2016

'Mint Juleps' by Audra Kerr Brown

“What’s this stuff supposed to do?” I ask, while standing in front of my parents’ bathroom mirror, the kind with movie-star light bulbs along the sides. I am naked from the waist up, slathering thick, white paste on my chest in circles.
    My best friend, Laura, is sitting on the counter beside me. She picks up the pink jar of ‘Madame Bovelle’s Décolletage Crème’ and scrutinizes the label, “It says to apply liberally as needed, but I’m sure it makes them grow. Take a look at the picture.” Laura holds up the jar to show me the silhouette of a well-endowed beauty leaning against a lamppost in what appears to be the French Quarter - the woman could easily be a sister to the same busty lady I’ve seen shimmering on the mud flaps of eighteen-wheelers.
    Laura and I have been whittling away the summer days, holed-up in my bedroom where we read, conduct our secret Mint Julep Society meetings, and emulate the heroines in our books by swooning on cue, fashioning our hair into wind-tousled tendrils, and cursing in 18th century vernacular: Damnable rogue! Filthy clod! 
    Today Laura and I have taken a break from an all-day read-a-thon to eat pizza puffs and to try the bosom cream that Laura has smuggled from her mother’s vanity drawer. Her mother, Daisy, had her right breast removed during spring break. Cancer. Laura is still a complete mess but she never says much and I know not to pry - she’ll open up when she’s ready. Meanwhile, I can’t decide which would be more devastating: having my mom stricken with cancer, or losing a breast; that is, if I had breasts to lose, mine are small pokey-looking fried eggs, best described collectively, as a chest.
    “I hope this works,” I say, as I extend my hand for more cream, “I don’t want to be the only girl in our class without a bra.”
    Laura scoops out a generous dollop and spreads it across my opened palm. “In that case we might have to buy another jar.” Laura doesn’t say this to be mean; it’s a rule of ours to be completely honest, even when it hurts.  Especially when it hurts.  It’s the first of three founding Mint Julep principles by which we’ve mingled our blood and sworn to uphold: honesty to the end, faith in friendship, and the undying quest for true love. 
    “Do you think it’s working? Is it tingling?” Laura asks before telling me about the many disadvantages of cleavage which include backaches, ill-fitting clothing, and of course, cancer, but I’ve heard this rant before and I’m only half listening. Finally, Laura’s gaze falls to the floor and I can tell she is thinking of her mother. The cream is not tingling, I’m worried that I’ve been rubbing too long, and above all, I am desperate to know if Madam Bovelle’s Crème is helping Daisy sprout a new breast, but for now, I know it’s best not to ask.

Originally published at  


  1. Audra, so glad to see this again. There's a perfection in this. I just love it. -April

  2. Audra, this is so dear. The friendship and narrative voice so charming. xo

  3. Beautiful language, Audra! Love!!

  4. Thanks, everyone !!! - Audra

  5. Audra, this is lovely.

  6. Can I be you when I grow up? I adore the Mint Julep Society. Love this friendship and the humor and sadness. Would love to see more of these two.

  7. ThAnks, Linda! Ive always felt a pull to keep writing about these two girls. Hope i actually do it somedAy! --Audra


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