She remembers the past in disorganized vignettes. She has ever since the Sixty-first Hunger Games. They say it's a coping mechanism. Honestly, Enobaria doesn't care. She knows what she needs to know, and she has her victory.
And she remembers what matters.
Age four. Her first memories of the community home in District 2. It's a viciously divided place. By the time the children in it are twelve, they will be united under the sway of the reaping ball, but until then, the cast-offs from the Capitol reign with an iron fist over the District 2 natives.
District 2 takes the children who don't fit in Capitol society, you see. The bastards of mothers who waited too long to get an abortion, or who thought they'd gain some status by bearing the child of an important man, or who simply thought it would be easiest to have the unwanted baby out of wedlock and then toss it to the districts.
They are not good enough for the Capitol, and no other district is good enough for them. Some grow up with superiority complexes and some with inferiority complexes. Enobaria grows up with neither. Instead, the memory of age four comes to her like this: clutching the edge of a bed while a district child is reunited with lost parents, she watches the other girl find her place, and she is consumed with the desire to know hers.
Age eight. She steals a smaller boy's stash of money and buys herself a nice dress, certain that looking beautiful will regain her a place in the Capitol where she belongs. She's punished for this, and the dress is taken away.
An older boy mutters to her, "You need to get to the Capitol first. See you there." He's training.
Age eleven. Enobaria trains with knives, but they seem a waste to her. She wants to use her whole body. All of it belongs in the Capitol, doesn't it? She'll prove it.
She knocks another girl's teeth in with her heel and breaks a boy's arm with a twist of her own. This time, she is not punished. It is understood that she is training.
Age fourteen. She tries to volunteer at the reaping, but is shoved aside by older girls. One of the ones left behind shrugs and tells her, "Wait till you're at least sixteen, little girl. You'll be done with your growing by then."
She wants to finish growing up in the Capitol, where she belongs. She wants to reach adulthood knowing her parents' names.
Age seventeen. This time, Enobaria knocks down the rest of the would-be volunteers and makes it up there herself. They pronounce her District 2's female tribute for the Sixty-first Hunger Games.
At the opening ceremonies. She scans the crowd for a familiar face, sure that she'll be able to recognize her parents when she sees them. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Well, when they see her fighting in the arena, they'll step up to claim her.
The interviews. She says something she's not supposed to say. "I'm here to win, of course." Not that. They'll show that all over Panem when she does win. But this: "To make my parents sorry they left me in District 2 with all the other bastards. Mother. Father. I'm back in your lives now." That's not something people are supposed to talk about. They edit it out of the broadcasts.
The arena. Most of Enobaria's memories of the fighting itself are muddled, which is a shame, because she hears she was spectacular. But one stands out.
She and the boy from District 1 circle each other, knives at the ready, trying to find an opening. His strategy is to goad her. "Just a knife? That's all?"
"It's more than enough." He's not giving her any way through his defenses.
"Haven't your parents sent you any gifts?"
"They haven't, have they. Because they never wanted you. They hope you die in here to spare them the trouble of having to see you from now on—" She only realizes that she's slipped up in her stance, given him an opening, when he lunges. Her knife clatters to the ground.
"Nothing but a little bastard girl in the end," he starts to gloat over her unarmed form, "and now a dead—"
She lunges better than he did, and she uses her entire Capitol body. The same mouth that called for her parents at the interviews. She sinks her teeth into him and tears out his throat.
After the games. Enobaria remembers very little of the victory ceremonies, which is a perpetual source of irritation to her. They must have been wonderful. But she remembers what happens after them, when she's ushered into a private room where an awkward-looking older man and a woman barely twice her age stand, reunited for the first time in seventeen years.
"It's nice to meet you, Enobaria," her father says distractedly.
"Yes, we..." Her mother coughs a little. "We didn't realize you cared so much. I'm sure we would have kept you if we had." Her father frowns. "Probably."
A few months later. They don't care about her parents, the audiences at the Capitol. They care about her. Enobaria tries to forget why she ripped out the boy's throat, like she's forgotten so much else, and simply remember it as her victory.
She has her teeth filed into points. Would any parent approve? It doesn't matter anymore. It's not about them. It's about what she did.
And she did it for herself.