"…The next time, when Mrs. Trace invited me to supper, was more to watch how he was and to listen to Mrs. Trace talk the way she did. A way that would always get her into trouble.
" ‘I messed up my own life,’ she told me. ‘Before I came North I made sense and so did the world. We didn’t have nothing but we didn’t miss it.’
"Who ever heard of that? Living in the city was the best thing in the world. What can you do out in the country? When I visited Tuxedo, back when I was a child, even then I was bored. How many trees can you look at? That’s what I said to her. ‘How many trees can you look at? And for how long and so what?’
"She said it wasn’t like that, looking at a bunch of trees. She said for me to go to 143rd street and to look at the big one on the corner and see if it was a man or a woman or a child.
"I laughed but before I could agree with the hairdresser that she was crazy, she said, ‘What’s the world for if you can’t make it up the way you want it?’
" ‘The way I want it?’
" ‘Yeah. The way you want it. Don’t you want it to be something more than it is?’
" ‘What’s the point? I can’t change it.’
" ‘That’s the point. If you don’t, it will change you and it’ll be your fault cause you let it. I let it. And it messed up my life.’
" ‘Messed it up how?’
" ‘Forgot it.’
" ‘Forgot it was mine. My life. I just ran up and down the street wishing I was somebody else.’
" ‘Who? Who’d you want to be?’
" ‘Not who so much as what. White. Light. Young again.’
" ‘Now you don’t?’
" ‘Now I don’t want to be the woman my mother didn’t stay around long enough to see. That one. The one she would have liked and the one I used to like before… My grandmother fed me stories about a little blond child. He was a boy, but I thought of him as a girl sometimes, as a brother, sometimes as a boyfriend. He lived inside my mind. Quiet as a mole. But I didn’t know it till I got here. The two of us. Had to get rid of it.’
"She talked like that. But I understood what she meant. About having another you inside that isn’t anything like you. Dorcas and I used to make up love scenes and describe them to each other. It was fun and a little smutty. Something about it bothered me, though. Not the loving stuff, but the picture I had of myself when I did it. Nothing like me. I saw myself as somebody I’d seen in a picture show or a magazine. Then it would work. If I pictured myself the way I am it seemed wrong.
" ‘How did you get rid of her?’
" ‘Killed her. Then I killed the me that killed her.’
" ‘Who’s left?’
"I didn’t say anything. I started thinking maybe the hairdresser was right again because of the way she looked when she said ‘me’. Like it was the first she heard of the word.