Forgive me, you say, squeezing your daughter’s hand, and your daughter says, For what? You recognize that specificity is an important ingredient in this request, and the fact that you are unable to put your finger precisely on what it is you’ve done wrong—not because you can’t see the wrong, but because the wrong is too spider-webbed to point to a single thing and say this—makes you feel like giving up.
Never mind, you say, and instead of waiting for your eldest daughter to leave your bedroom, you do. The back porchlight is on and you lean against the clapboard house despite the incessant fluttering of moths and other night bugs. You hear your daughter’s footsteps ascend the stairs to her bedroom, and your cheeks burn at what she might tell the others. You are afraid of seeing how they see you, because you’re afraid they’ll see you as you really are. You’re afraid they’ll look at you like they could’ve done it better.
But they are just girls. They’ve never had to make the difficult decisions you’ve made, nor felt the cutting of flesh as pounds were extracted for payment. They do not know that the payment for right is bone, and that the scales never tip in your favor.
Briefly, you think about leaving. Go to section L.
Or you settle for a walk around the neighborhood. Go to section M.