We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so the one place that I felt was unchanging was my grandparents’ house in Battle Creek. I remember being there one summer and I was out talking to the pine tree in their back yard, as you do. I don’t know. I’ve just always talked to plants. I was born that way.
But I remember overhearing my grandpa saying to my cousin M. something about how weird I was.
I don’t remember his exact words anymore, but I remember how it stung, how it made me feel like I didn’t fit in even at the one place I thought was stable and always accepting of me.
I don’t suppose, in the end, he meant anything terrible by it. And I guess I was weird.
But I have never forgotten the way my breath caught in my throat and my cheeks burned to hear it.