The vase falls and I don’t even bother to reach for it. The glass touches my toes, dancing across my heels, drawing blood. But still, I walk onward, over the treachery and through the doorway to the elevator.
The nurses are there again, and they hold me down, injecting the poison into my skin. I’m not sick but they tell me I am.
I laugh. Dr. K gives me water, writes a note, and hurries off down the hall. I sit down on my bed and reach beneath the mattress once everyone has gone, and I find Sara.
There’s a pond out back with giant koi and a skinny heron that eyes them longingly. I kind of feel bad for him. He goes back everyday, thinking that no one will fend him off in favor of the koi. But each day they do. Dolores sometimes goes after him with a broom.
Underwater, the koi are thankful. They blow Dolores grateful kisses, pouting their lips and waving frantically to her with the hands they don’t have. Tomorrow, I will help the heron silence the koi. Tomorrow they will be his feast.
Sara would like the heron. She would feel badly for him and bring him bread. She would say, “Oh, lovely heron, I will take care of you. Today and tomorrow and the day after that.” But Sara is not here. So she will not say it.
It is pizza day in the Lunch Hall. It is called the Lunch Hall even though we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner there. We also have tea. But it is lunchtime now, and it is pizza day. I choose pepperoni and sit with Pete.
Pete doesn’t talk much, but that is my favorite part about Pete. He is very quiet and it is very nice to eat lunch with him. I sit next to his chair and he looks at me out of the corner of his eye.
Pete looks away, and nods softly.
“Torey,” says Ms. Devon quietly, “Time for art.”
And we go.
It’s watercolor day, and Ms. Devon hands me the paint and some brushes. I find a canvas in the corner and paint the vase. It’s very lovely and Ms. Devon tells me so. She asks where I saw the vase and I can’t tell her.