"Angry angry angry, is what you are," they tell me, but I think I’m less angry than quiet, the kind of quiet that makes people nervous because they can’t tell what you’re thinking, and most of them assume the worst. I do get angry sometimes, but who doesn’t? There’s strength in anger, which goes against what school counselors will tell you.

Since I’ve been living with my grandparents, I’m a lot less angry, but I’m still pretty quiet. My grandparents go on and on about how lovely I am—which I’m not—and how bright—which I’m definitely not. They give me an allowance, which is something new, and nice clothes. Sometimes, when they’re showing me off to their wrinkly friends, I feel like saying, "She pees when you give her a bottle!" like those talking dolls they gave me when I first came to live with them, before they understood I was way past dolls.

Still, I like how quiet their house is. I like that there are always clean sheets, even if they do smell like mothballs. Everything in my grandparents’ house smells like mothballs, even them sometimes, but it’s not a terrible smell. At least it smells like someone’s trying. And there are times, late at night, when the smell of the mothballs and the clean sheets and the glow of the stupid little nightlight they insist I need and the cicadas singing outside —when all of it together makes me feel like I’m in a cocoon, like I could become something very nice.