A plate flew past Sira’s head, catching a stray wisp of hair before landing with a satisfying crash against the wall of the great hall. To her right, a teenage boy heaved a wooden chair up and then slammed it into the stone floor, breaking three of its legs. Anger swelled—no, boiled—within Sira, overpowering any shred of sanity left in her mind and emerging as pure irrational hate.
Sira watched a gray mockingbird bob its tail up and down on the wooden fence and wondered about how the birds could tell each other apart. Was it smell? A slight differentiation in their black and white tail feathers? Maybe the way they sounded? As she studied the bird, Rhetta, their black mare, snorted and the bird flew away, its quick wings a blur as it pushed itself up across a gentle breeze.
I stare out the window of the car, watching the red trolley whoosh by, its horn blaring a dull warning.
“Is it winter?”
In front, my mom doesn’t answer. She’s pushing the buttons that make the sound come out of the speakers. I hear lots of noise, some fun music, and boring NPR. My parents always listen to NPR. They were so impressed when I learned how to tell Google to “Play NPR,” but now they just tell me, “Ok, that’s good, Ben, you don’t need to turn it on right now.”