You have a dog named Sam. He's made out of Abe's old socks, with big floppy ears and gangly legs (Abe has big feet, but you told him a thousand-million-billion times that you don't mind long puppies with floppy paws), and he's the best thing in the world, sort of.

Sort of because there are better things out there, just not close enough that you can touch. You want but then, you learned a long time ago that want is useless, and so you should just be happy with what you have. And you have enough; you've got Abe and Al and Mum and Sam, and that's enough. It is. It must be.

(No use in wishing for things you can't ever have, right?)

But then, you don't have Mum anymore, do you, and Abe is about to go off to school again and Al's too busy with Yellow Boy to notice, so all you've really got is Sam.

But that's okay. Because Sam is enough, right?


Yellow Boy asks you where you got this dirty old thing, and you get flustered at him and hold Sam tight-tight-tight to your chest because he's all you've got and can't Yellow Boy see that it's a dog? What did they teach him at his fancy, far-off, hard-to-say school? Not about animals, you think, and try not to giggle. If you laugh at him, he'll think you aren't mad at him. No one ever takes you seriously when you're smiling.

So you frown, only then Yellow Boy laughs in a way that makes you feel tiny and he pets you the way you pet Sam and tells you that you're a funny little thing, and how old is she, Al? Six?

Fourteen, Albus replies in a tone you've never heard before. Yellow Boy looks at you funny, but doesn't say anything else. What's wrong, you wonder, with fourteen? What does it mean? It's just a number, right, the same numbers that Abe taught you, onetwothreefour. It's just a number.

You think it must be important because at fourteen, you still look tiny but things are changing, changing in ways you don't want to think about, ways they don't talk about - your chest is tender and swelling and you remember thinking that that's a bad sign, right? So you ran up to Al the first time you noticed and asked him what was going on, what was wrong, were you going to die? And he looked at you funny and said you looked just fine to him, so then you pulled off your dress (they didn't know you'd learned to undress yourself) and asked him what your chest was doing and why did it hurt.

He just jerked your dress right back over your head and told you not to do that again.

You wonder if this is what dying is supposed to feel like.

Your chest is tender and you don't feel like you fit, your skin feels loose on your bones, and your stomach sometimes hurts and you get angry at Al and Abe sometimes for stupid things, because they're stupid boys and you look at Yellow Boy and something inside aches and cries because Yellow Boy calls you a little girl and pets you the way you pet Sam. And you want to go outside, to see other people and to swim in the lake and to go to school. You want to know things, to stop being how old is she, Al and start being like those women you see on the street sometimes, the ones that turn people's heads, and you want to make them follow you with their eyes.

(You want.)

But then, there's no use wishing for things you can't ever have, right? And you've got Sam and Al and Abe and even Yellow Boy, at least for a while, and that's enough, right?


A/N: I actually wrote this story a long, long time ago, but never posted it here. So, now I have. :D