The French Revolution.
The earthquake, the Second Great Depression, current events. Word by word.
The invisible boundary.
The most important part.
Who shall say what prospect life offers to another?
To live deep and suck out all the marrow.
All of it.
I look at my hands. Clasp them and unclasp them. Perfect. Monster. Hands.
A thousand points. A thousand illegal points.
Suck out the marrow.
The marrow of Jenna Fox.
My feet fidget. They tap. The way they always did. The nervous gesture of my childhood. My borrowed feet remember. Something that is still mine. I calm them.
‘Then I should have the key to the closet,’ I finally say.
Mother looks at Father. She is not the deferring type. But in all these uncertain matters she defers to him. I see this is not her world. She is feeling her way through something foreign. She only wanted her daughter back. Would pay any price for it. But the price is navigating uncertainty and secrets that seem to keep spinning faster than she is. She’s wide-eyed, staring at the Netbook and Father. He remains steady, his eyes faltering for only a microsecond. But it’s a faltering microsecond that is a lifetime for me. I can see. He is afraid. Maybe terrified. He calculates his reply. ‘What do you mean, Jenna?’ he asks calmly.
What are they afraid of? What do they think—
I feel a ping, chilling and alert. The key.
Their eyes are riveted on me, invested, waiting for an answer. ‘The key to the small door at the back of my closet,’ I tell them. I see the visible relief on both their faces. ‘If I need to really get out of sight one day, it would be logical to go there.’
‘Yes, of course,’ Father agrees.
‘I have it somewhere. I’ll find it,’ Mother says. She is too eager. She rummages through a drawer and produces two keys. ‘I think it’s one of these.’
‘I’ll go try them both.’
I hurry upstairs to my closet, pocketing the keys Mother handed me. I rush, afraid she may follow. I overturn my hamper and riffle through dirty clothes and sheets, looking for the pants I wore four days ago. I find them and search the pocket. The key to Mother’s closet is still there. This is the key that made Father falter, the one he thought I was talking about.
I scan my closet for a hiding place. I kneel in the corner and pull back the carpet, tuck the key there, and carefully push the carpet back down on the tack strip. I place my hand over the patch of carpeting, like some truth will filter through. Something that
is all, one hundred percent, mine.
My hand hovers, but no truth comes, only the knowledge that maybe this is my way of balancing the power.
It’s midnight. The house is dark. Quiet. Mother and Lily have been in bed for an hour.
I watch Year Seven / Jenna Fox. It’s the only disc I have watched more than once. This is my fourth time.