Excerpt #2

“The next morning I could feel the hours counting down until it was time to leave; the whole thing was a build up to a grand explosion and adventure. I went down the stairs for coffee and everyone was up and relaxing around the kitchen. My aunt and uncle were there from out of town to see me go, too (gee, when I say it like that, it really sounds like I was getting ready for death…).

Now, I hate attention. It’s O.K. in small doses, but when it’s the kind where everyone is looking at you for a prolonged period of time, I don’t know what to do with myself. Like on your birthday. Everyone sits around this big table and puts a big fat cake in front of you and then just stares at you and sings this song while you just have to sit there and look at all of them? What do you do? It’s probably my most awkward day of the year. Do you sing along? Do you look at the cake? Mostly, I just look at the cake and wish for the song to be over. And thank god it ends before the candles are supposed to be blown out, otherwise I would waste a wish every year on that embarrassing song.

The day of my leaving was just like that birthday song- all morning. Every move I had around the kitchen was like it was going to be the last one they would ever see; everything I did was precious. I could have thrown a fit and then pissed on the floor and it would have been precious. Save the pee! It will be the last we have of her for five months! Rather, I stuck to my regular routine to avoid further attention. I also tried to pretend that I didn’t notice I was always being looked at, knowing that even a bite of cereal was being unnecessarily cherished.”

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