I remember one early evening in the springtime of ninth grade, I was sitting on the arm of the couch, which Mom hated, and wearing my Hole t-shirt with the heart logo, probably the band I loved that Mom hated most, and she stood by the stove getting ready for dinner. I was watching MTV–this is when they still played videos all the time–and singing along. Low spring light came in from the window near the TV and left big fans of light on the rug that stretched all the way to the kitchen where Mom stirred frozen vegetables in a pan.
“So, Emilia,” she said, and I could tell by the way she wasn’t turning towards me, the way she was trying too hard to sound like a thought just occurred to her, that whatever was coming, she’d worked herself up to it. But I didn’t move my gaze from the TV. “What do you want to be when you’re older?”