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The water is freezing. The bathroom has blue tiles on the walls and


the tub is blue too, just lighter. They must have filled it with ice cubes and then they put me in. My skin burns, all over my whole body. My hands and feet feel huge. I am fighting with strong hands. Everything in the room is tilted and wrong–the toilet looks too big; the shower curtain around my dad‘s face looks tiny. He is speaking, but I can‘t understand the words. I can see up his nose, smell the cigarettes on his breath. I wonder: why are you killing me? I am crying, pleading for my mommy. ―Mommy, get me out!‖ I was so cold before, and now I am on fire. When I close my eyes everything is orange with yellow at the edges. I want to be out of the water, but I am confused and afraid. As I gasp for air, I hear someone say, ―Shush, it‘s okay,‖ And then the little tiled room fills with screams again; the screams are coming from me.


/// I am sitting on my grandfather‘s rocking chair on his porch


somewhere far away from home. My feet do not touch the floorboards where the grey paint is peeling. It is summer, and flies are flying around the dirty rug in front of the screen door where Chester, my grandpa‘s dog, sleeps. It smells hot and dirty like old cooking grease. Chester is mean, I have been bitten, but he is nowhere around now. I want a Good Humor. I want to be home watching cartoons. I want to be anywhere but here. The flies land on me, in my face–on my hands. My mom has warned me about the germs. I am afraid to touch the grimy railing or the grimy doorknob. I squeeze my eyes shut. I remember Dorothy in the movie The Wizard of OZ. I whisper, ―There‘s no place like home, there‘s no place like home.‖ I hold my breath; I strain and push and grit my teeth. Sweat runs down my forehead, into my eyes. It tickles my nose; I wipe at it with the side of my hand. When I open my eyes I am still here. The air is so hot and still that the


fence in the front yard looks like it is a reflection in the lake. I remember the lake. The water is cold and dark and deep. I think about the splintery wood on the dock, the metal boat tied up with a thick, scratchy, knotted rope, a black tire tube floating. I can hear the little waves splashing against the posts and the boat banging against the dock. I no longer want to go anywhere. The idea of the lakeside is just like


being there. I relax. I hear other kids playing nearby. When I open my eyes I am sitting on the little sandy beach by the water. A motor boat skims by out in the middle of the lake.


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