I’m quiet and still and the trouble with being quiet and still is that people will occasionally mistake you for a toilet. It’s easy to take things out on me or blame me for things. Mom does this pretty much daily. She used to love me. She’s like the dolls with the smaller dolls in them, but she forgets they’re there, that one of those moms really loved me. Or she could never hurt me. I’m a different kid now, too. But I still remember the smaller kid, in her sarcophagus, who loved her mom and felt pretty loved. I still feel her, sometimes. I guess life would be easier, if I couldn’t.


Occasionally my dad stands up and whispers to mom not to say this or that in front of me but it doesn’t matter. I can hear her from the kitchen. I can hear him. He doesn’t talk much about me so I have to listen.


What are we going to do with her? What will happen to her? What’s, going, to happen?


Then I’m swallowing water and sinking. I’m listening and I’m sinking. I’m the whale with the harpoon earrings. I’m sinking.


When my parents are suddenly alone I try to get to my room fast but the elevator doors don’t always close fast enough. Or they open and drop me in the middle of something, a storm cloud that I thought was just fluffy nest material. I listen and I watch my parents roll out of the kitchen like smoke, looking only at the space exactly above me or beside me. Then I look at them sinking down on the two big couches and I think, What have I done to these people?


I’ll bet they ask themselves the same thing.