It began when I was nine. "I want to be a ballerina," I told my mother.
"Angela," she said between bites of her sandwich. "That's the silliest thing I've ever heard. You—you're so ugly and fat, just like your father. You have the grace of a hippo." She laughed harshly at her own joke and turned back to the television, ignoring me and my tears. I went out onto the balcony of our run-down apartment to watch the stars and
On Mr. Malcolm's balcony next to ours, a shadowed man I stepped to the rail, staring out over the city lights just as I was. He wore a hooded jacket; it was chilly.
"Hey, little one," he said, his voice warm and kind. "What's
I tried to talk, my voice coming out between the sobs and choking breaths. "Mom says I'm fat and ugly." I wanted to say a lot more, but I knew better than to burden a stranger on a balcony at night. People didn't care what happened so long I showed up for school, so long as there were no marks on me, and so long as Mom wasn't a threat to herself or anyone else. This guy shouldn't be any different.
He wiped his mouth on his sleeve. "Mmm." The man climbed over the metal railing, dangling his feet below. He stared at me, long and contemplative, but I couldn't make out his face. Our light burnt out a month ago and Mom never replaced the bulb. "I guess she must be blind," he said.
Tags: lovery novel