There were memories of a family, of a fair-haired father who used a black pocket comb each morning to part his hair, a straight line, down the side. Amy saw his long face in the bathroom mirror, a sickle moon of rust in the center of the glass, a can of shaving cream and a black razor on the sink. When he turned the spigot and rinsed the razor’s head, the pipes shook. He was tall and wore a white T-Shirt and baby-blue boxer shorts. He must’ve seen her reflection in the bathroom mirror, but maybe not, because he never acknowledged her. Maybe she was never there.
Amy lived in a two-story Victorian that cast a long shadow across a busy road when the sun was setting. There was a spire, like Amy lived in a castle, but the tiles were missing, and it leaked. Rain tunneled down through the plaster and settled in the ceiling above her bed. There was a dog chained in the backyard, a red plastic bowl filled with water from the green hose, a snake, and the roar of diesel trucks driving past. Amy crawled to the dog and sat by the chain, that sometimes cut into her thigh, when the dog lunged or jumped at the sound of the father’s voice.
There was a mother with hair like spun gold. Amy remembered her prostrate, low to the ground, her hands in prayer, but wished her gigantic, a huge bird soaring above the man in his boxer shorts, the dog, the spire, the trucks, everything. The mother had too many names. She was Disobedient, Unladylike, Obstinate, Sinful, Conspiring, Vain and Boastful. Then she was Morose. Once upon a time, Amy overheard the ladies from church talking, that her name had also been Margaret.
Five is not a very long time to be alive, to sit with Disobedient on a brown sofa, Amy’s head in her lap, Sinful combing through her yellow curls with her fingers, saying, “Where do you want to go? If we could go anywhere, where would you want to go?”
Amy said, “Sesame Street.” She sang, “Come and meet where the air is sweet. Come and play where everything’s A-Okay. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”
Obstinate said, “We’ll go someplace wonderful.”