“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

by

Celestial Timepiece

By Joyce Carol Oates

First published in Epoch, Fall 1966. Included in Prize Stories : O Henry Award Winners(1968), and The Best American Short Stories (1967).

Her name was Connie. She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right. Her mother, who noticed everything and knew everything and who hadn’t much reason any longer to look at her own face, always scolded Connie about it. “Stop gawking at yourself. Who are you? You think you’re so pretty?” she would say. Connie would raise her eyebrows at these familiar old complaints and look right through her mother, into a shadowy vision of herself as she was right at that moment: she knew she was pretty and that was everything. Her mother had been pretty…

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