- I told my brother I was going to be a fairy when I grew up. Or a bird, or sprite something with wings so I could touch the clouds. I learned that fairies weren't real when I was six, after I tried to jump off a parking structure to see if I could fly. That day I also broke my leg in three places and saw an angel's face in the clouds. (And don't tell anybody, but sometimes I spend all day looking for him.)
- My neighbors back in Denver had a son who was a schizophrenic. After he went off his meds for the third time, he painted the windows red and told his wife she had to abort their baby because it wasn't human. A year later, I heard that he was arrested after pointing a hunting rifle on his family. It was loaded, but he didn't pull the trigger because his mother said she trusted him. I guess love is kind of like that, too.
- Seattle didn't come until I was fifteen, in October. My family and I took a boat ride on Friday. We listened to the captain in the speakers telling us how he'd lost his daughter in an ocean storm. He said, "Sometimes when it rains, I'll add a little of my own water." After we docked, my father held my hand for the rest of that day. And, even if the rain on his face was by itself, it still breaks my heart.
- Until I took my first year of Spanish, I would make two dozen paper cranes every August for my mother's birthday. Then my new professor found me folding the class syllabus on the second week of school. "Is this an art course?" she asked a question with no answer, pinching a paper wing between her fingers. When I told her it was for my mother, she tore it up and the pieces fell on my desk. She told me to throw them out, but I didn't. Instead I sat there, closing my eyes to tears, and waited for the punishment to end. I'm still waiting.
- My mother knew that something wasn't right long before my father. But as soon as she said my name with "hospital", he said hers with "neglect," and their shouting was the tattoo inside my head. But they weren't the reason I stayed up for days. Because it's just that, sleeping is really hard when you can't stop crying.
- I grew up afraid I wouldn't know how to kiss. I thought that, if you fix a broken boy, then you wouldn't have to know because he'd teach you and love you. The first boy I kissed pushed me into a bike rack when I tried to ask him out. The first boy I fixed took one summer to forget I ever existed, after I was convinced we would marry. So instead of learning how to kiss, my father said in litany that I should be grateful for learning early that you can't trust everyone. All I learned was that there's more than one way to feel pain.
- We were maybe five or six, but they still hated me, maybe because I was new. Or blond with blue eyes. Or I tried too hard when they cornered me on the playground; when they told me to fight and I still got punched. Or maybe I just talked too much. Maybe, when talking wasn't enough and I had to scream, I shouldn't have. Maybe I shouldn't have tried, either. Actually come to think of it, I really didn't. The nose splint and this memory still in my head say that I didn't try enough.
- And maybe. The truth is I was only screaming because nobody ever listened.