Chapter Two

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"Well they encourage your complete cooperation,

Send you roses when they think you need to smile.

I can't control myself because I don't know how,

And they love me for it honestly, I'll be here for a while.

So give them blood, blood, gallons of the stuff!

Give them all that they can drink and it will never be enough.

So give them blood, blood, blood.

Grab a glass because there's going to be a flood!

A celebrated man amongst the gurneys.

They can fix me proper with a bit of luck.

The doctors and the nurses they adore me so,

But it's really quite alarming 'cause I'm such an awful fuck. (Oh, thank you!)

I gave you blood, blood, gallons of the stuff,

I gave you all that you can drink and it has never been enough.

I gave you blood, blood, blood,

I'm the kind of human wreckage that you love!"

-My Chemical Romance, "Blood"

"She-" I heard my mother pause, that hesitant hush she'd had to her voice since I could remember letting me know that she was once again preparing to tread lightly-I was half-convinced she saw eggshells before her feet everywhere she walked. I watched her out of my peripheral vision as she leaned slightly forward, clasping her small hands in front of her and wringing her fingers, forever wringing her fingers in penitence for existing amongst other people who had to tolerate her use of precious oxygen.

"Yes?" the woman seated across from her in a plush, leather chair that reminded me of my dead grandfather's stuffy old house encouraged her. She too leaned forward, her thick bifocals glinting under the harsh, fluorescent lighting that flooded down on us, bringing artificial brightness to the dreary day outside. "She what? Don't be concerned, she's quite distracted with the toys right now. Speak freely."

I kept my eyes trained on the ancient Barbie doll I held in my tiny hands, pressing my lips together to barely contain a chuckle at her condescension.

Adults were so dumb.

Distracted, my ass. I was always listening. My mother knew it well.

"I-I suppose," my mother responded, her voice laced with the doubt of one who knew far better than that.

I gave a small cough and I felt my mother's eyes turn to me, the silence only penetrated by the humming click of the air conditioner kicking on. I raised my brows as I deliberately placed the Barbie in front of me and rocked back on my heels, cocking my head as if to consider the wonder that was this plastic piece of anti-feminist trash.

"She's disproportionate," I said to the room in general and I heard my mother shift in her seat uncomfortably.

"She's what, dear?" the older woman said, turning her ginger-and-ash head towards me and taking on that tone older folks so often used with me-like they were stuck in a vat of syrup they would gladly drown in.

"Disproportionate," I repeated, swinging my attention over to regard the doctor with eyes that felt as flat as my voice.

"My, that's certainly a large word for age nine-" the doctor began.

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