She finds her resolve upstairs, in a built-in cupboard in her bedroom, a cool black nook between eaves. She empties the house of herself, in a way – she can’t see anything, and in the wood, a sacredness and functionality must aid the process of unadulterated, unfleshed thought. Having strewn her uniform on her bedroom floor, she stands naked on purpose – in here, between her skin and an inside wall, is a place for judgment. Girl-6 hopes to perform it swiftly, ritualistically, leaving no room for self-sentiment – she does not intend to gratify herself when she imagines a freshly avowed nun in her chamber, just stripped of identity, vanity, and pride, about to commit that first brevity of nakedness between habit, and nightie.
What she knows: Girl-3 got her good this time – ‘had one over her,’ they’d say. Girl-6 can tell she’s been had, by this ungainly indignation she suffers, causing a loss of humor, and energy. Some girls can tell. Girls who study the rungs of the social ladder attune to other girls because you have to go to school with them and compete for status. There, at school, no matter the ferocity of your companions, you jointly create the status bond – the knowledge of a hierarchy that begins in silence, with an up and away look, towards a greater idea of yourself that seems to live just above the nose and, once there, to show indifference to the existence of others, except maybe ponies and a best friend who must understand that somewhere else in your international life, is an even closer friend who knows better secrets about you. From this point of the status bond, some chilling skirt-twirl freeze outs and lip-biting dislocation of personal articles – like a doll from your father, or an expensive retainer, involving the active concern of the entire upper school upturning the premises – will speed a lower former’s social flight to the highest rungs – oh ye adorable pet of top-form popular girls. Divorced parents are best; you have tricky holiday arrangements – double lives, double gifts, and the curse of a peppy stepparent bribing your favor with coolness. Pony collections work also – to fuss over their silk platinum tails is a pledge for rank – tangle-free tails equal supremacy and an orderly mind: you’re a girl who wipes her bottom til it burns. Is your stable regimented, under constant re-organization, or roaming freely about the room? These are desirable frivolities so long as you’re not sloppy about anything. Sloppiness is akin to being depressed.
The key to this status bond is in seeing its ladder in ascendance. Girl-6 is, without doubt, still at the bottom, but half-heartedly working up to being labeled ‘a bit of a snob with great hair.’ Snobbery’s an art; austerity rules over the niceties of existence. To climb the rungs, one must create from the bleak coils of her imagination, rungs lower than her – girls whom she must consider less than, and thus, assigned a place beneath her.
Rung-jumping is no easy task. Once, Girl-6 might have seen inside another girl’s mind. This girl’s school position implied invincibility; however, on parents and guardian’s day, under that girl’s porcelain-prefect’s mask, a vulnerable and practically motherless child swum too close to the surface and betrayed the girl everyone knew – just briefly. It was a spooky happening and disintegrated Girl-6’s upward drive – precisely, for jumping rungs. In the stew of uniforms flushed into that vale of learning, each passing face a pristine sponge for the heart’s adventure; this skill eludes her. More apt, the desire, that necessary cutthroat blood is, inside Girl-6, living dormant in a deep well of her whole ancestral being, as it must in every girl, this carnivorous, congealed pool of molten instinct curdling, screaming and shriveling as it waits for that bucket to come down, and get some. One girl descends for just a bit of this incredible blood, and comes up empty, thinking, is her bucket undeserving, incapable? She’ll go again, hardening her heart as she descends into the pitch, at length, to discover her well is barren. Water, let alone that blood, doesn’t exist to drown in, or even break her fall, should she be inclined to dive in.
In its place is a cold, dusty floor, until – oh look up, and down again – why, here’s the floor of a beautiful white palace – a kind of girl paradise where ladders and rungs have no credibility and should anyone remember their history, will feel inclined, no, ecstatic in figuratively fuelling campfires with its worth – where all girls are equal, and mass sleepovers typify the new order. Where boys don’t rate a visit to the commons for lemonade and sandwiches until graduation year, to general gasps of ‘at last’ enlivening a sense-edged enthusiasm, so the girls surveying those boys, can map out their lives, choose suitable mates to suppress the faults of the other, while enhancing the promising parts. This combined with a non-hysterical love of no less perfection than flight itself holds for mutual and all-encompassing prosperity. Until that day, a stream of good men, role models like her brother, will inspire feminine expectations. For her part, Girl-6 sees herself breeding ponies, doing good works, and writing books of her experiences as a great leveler.
Anyone showing potential will be welcomed on a daily basis. In conscience, they’ll stand apart; they’ll not pay taxes, because they’ll be on solar power, and true only to the realms of spiritual law. They’ll relearn ‘Beauty’ as the expression of inner achievement. They’ll have their own fashion sense. If any soul falls to crime or ill intent, it will be a shared injustice and judged as such. That will make a grim day, easily overridden by the days of joy, swim parties, and productivity. As the inventor of such a paradise, she accepts some respect due her, but the new school won’t serve status bonds, only fairness, and joint aspiration.
Status – going against the ethics of the white palace, Girl-3 has that. At first, Girl-6 could appreciate Girl-3’s independence from the confines of suburban virtues, her apparent ability to exist without vanity or, what Girl-6 terms, ‘radiant procession’ – that is a way of tackling the future with less than what birth has endowed you, and being fortified by this condition, like an amputee, or an orphan. This Girl-3 with unknown aspirations embodies something between hunter and hunted – she is hunger, and coveting. Girls in the upper form mundanely call her poorly socialized, but their hearts pound for what’s unsaid, what words would devalue, what strikes their eyes with electricity normally reserved for sexual wonder. Thus slipshod minds made slackened rungs, allotting Girl-3 in, and up, without regard for her young schoolmate’s place or hard-won privacy.
Everyone at school has a creative projects drawer. Girl-6 got rummaged and someone’s tasteless curiosity still physically turns Girl-6 hot suppressing her indignity, instead of airing it, so she is at length disturbed. Bad enough to be visually poked and prodded, to have every move you make, every backpack protrusion, viewed on a microscopic level; every action singular, discombobulated, and judged as such and out loud – and it’s so unfair because day girls are, for practical reasons, like manic relief forms of themselves. Seeing it through the boarders’ eyes, all the to-and-fro of Girl-6 unto them, renders her as sport, a landing pad for diversion, a cool pool to swim in, towel off, refresh, until mass hot symptoms excite them again.
Her interesting parts stay home. Girl-3’s make front page.
Things she brings from home outside of necessities, usually carry quite eloquent back-stories, and her practices, serious intentions – both are just disengaged and discarded by Girl-3. Because Girl-6 occasionally, seemingly, reads minds, she’s been seeing herself through Girl-3’s eyes, as if for the first time. Under cold examination, Girl-6 probably falls flat: stern is the facade of her solemnity, petty are her annoyances, calculating is her just and ritualistic style. However, Girl-6, emphatically, isn’t stern, petty, or calculating. Lest she calls herself above-board, she feels practically alien just thinking about herself.
What she won’t do: deny Girl-3’s bravery as an isolated, yet celebrated foe of sorority, an alter conscience, and absolutely when everyone rubs the stars from their eyes, a thief. No one objects to her peculiar tastes in food, clothes, and etiquette; all this should be seen to be natural and endearing, given that Girl-3 is unnatural, coming via front page from a suspected blonde desert cult. It’s this idea of her as something to celebrate that unnerves Girl-6 and makes her revise the status bond ladder – the idea that nature created an apparently loveable girl out of none of the accepted methods. To be free of society for your entire youth, for some reason, makes you pure and innocent; your deeds, however vile, a display like a learning deficit, or something lost in translation, because they must not matter. Society beyond ‘tween sorority’ then, as a mass brain, must see itself to be sordid and beyond saving. If so, why has no one, acting for the whole of society, done anything about it? They allow Girl-3 everything. Her murky history must not matter, except to thwart the saccharine, and plastic, of perfection, and veil her in victim hues, because they must persist in loving her. Despite everything that’s certainly bad about Girl-3, they have made her perfect. They insist upon it. They-must-persist-loving-Girl-3-not-6.
And then, Girl-6 began to love her too. Despite the faults, Girl-3, who menstruates and paints with her tampons – really has neat skills of her own – appears to secretly want to copy her, a day girl, and she’s done so, by way of appropriation, while Girl-6 was home. Girl-3 couldn’t know that Nerelee exists because Girl-6 buried her six months ago, behind the creative projects drawer so purposely chaotic inside is a formless spikey mesh. Nevertheless, seven days after the new girl’s arrival, Nerelee of the Wattles disappears.
‘None wud blink if ya never’n hid her but ya did, an’ she is burnt,’ said Girl-3.
‘That’s a confession, then?’
‘Then I must have blinked and missed it.’ Girls 1 to 5 got her looking, swearing ‘she’s so close you can smell her – check the eaves, and the cellars…’
She never told them that she hadn’t smelled for months. In fairness, Girl-6 must appreciate herself as an interesting subject, and not just for not smelling. Just being herself, going about her ways, she has earned fascination, from perhaps the most fascinating girl of all. And were it not for Nerelee’s value as evidence against herself, she’d forgive the not-so-cute Girl-3 everything that she, as an accidental figurehead, as a whirling catalyst, has caused to illuminate.
In those months before Girl-3’s arrival, school and home tremored expectantly, with the to-and-fro of it all, with the tremendousness that Girl-6 was experiencing her finale in a gentile term of life. At home, playtime became an investment. She grew ever more observant, even mercenary in seizing moments that tomorrow, she might view as ‘indulgent.’ To take afternoon naps between booyongs, press flat chest to earth and beat her heart against eons and sniff, listen, and interpret so hard because she might not again – made sense. A term whose death was knowledge by way of falling; falling as an intangible succumbing; a succumbing so charismatic and alluring as naught but the ghost called her future formed on loose probabilities; that one day she too, after a term of exam hysteria, would age and marry. There’d be separations, choices, and sacrifices involving men and the independent feminine goal and online bills to pay.
Nonetheless, that afternoon that had secured her brother home, and her father from work and into his dreams, felt thick with safe prospect, and peripheral thinking, a warm cup of freedom. Coming out the back door into tracks through banana trees carrying her covered basket, both she and Nerelee smelling of guava sunscreen, Girl-6 foretold no volatility in the body of this party: in the basket; fairy-cakes, her doll-size sudden beauty set, and child-size tea set; in her uniform pocket, a forgotten felt pen. A threshold lurked, but because it was her first, her instincts were innocent to foreboding. Yes, some guilt, ignoring Mum shouting, ‘where be my green sandals?’ Mum had missed her arrival from school, and she didn’t shout hey, but Girl-6 felt already swept away, and singular in her intention. When she spied her father and brother at the picnic table exchanging wry glances, cotton-wool sensations encased her. Her father already wore his yay the weekend paisley robe and his starriest eyes because her brother had incited debate. Men discussing matters deemed beyond her concern, her comprehension, her responsibility – it swaddled her good. That any moment she could run back, invade their manly knot, for a cuddle, or duty to frill their afternoon – bring biscuits, take a memo, pour frothing beers…
Girl-6 passed unnoticed; passing the ficus hedge, crossing lawn behind the house, dodging shadow prospects of snakes until she reached full coverage through the dip in the landscape of beyond. Here thick cloud compacted her world. Rising heat dissolved her nervy sense of mission, and she felt rather light-headed as her joints moved as if coerced by surprise, and her body fell into pathways, and her mind rolled musically along. She considered her style of walking, which opened her to this deeper, richer atmosphere that said I’m exclusively yours before evening’s birdsong ran amuck before one breath of humanity should spook it away. Everything appeared at her touch, steamy and miraculous, including the interlude amongst the miracle that was herself in this rare spontaneous action, herself in great single strides. Every arrival point embraced her; every layer peeled away to reveal the next until her full stop came, at the booyong grove. At its sun-baked edge, pitched high above the river, was a grassy hideout, arid, but misty so vested with drama – she imagined a futurist might choose such a site for a clubhouse. So here she put down the basket, laid a striped blanket and did her best to flatten the long yellow grass bunching in baby hills underneath. Warmth released the blanket’s musty indoor smell as if retelling dream-filled hibernation, inspiring in her, fresh ideas of time’s ghostly substance. Once all elements fell into place, she asked Nerelee, ‘Care to join?’
Felt pen bled pink through her blue-checked pocket, likely since that morning’s art class – oh her school shoes! Incredibly, she hadn’t changed into something flouncy before starting out, but a lesser breed of fate directed this day.
She now thinks that a person, just before she changes greatly, discovers herself in her most basic, beloved identity – the last flight of self, already retreating into memory, the great hug before death. Enough time passed that the sun found a cloud pocket, beaming her its hot send-off hug from outer space. In its warmth, the pocket stain fed her ideas. Soon, Nerelee was admiring her speckled complexion in the mirror of the sudden beauty set. Now they were twins. More bunches on the blanket needed smoothing. The sun’s position in that ferocious blue patch indicated it was time for afternoon tea.
She took from the basket teacups, leaf-patterned saucers and the container that she opened just enough to dispatch fairy-cakes to saucers, and shut. She then blew off the ants, one by one, that already, psychically marched onto the blanket. So she missed the rift of smoke rise off the grass behind her and has since reassembled that into its crazed cobra form. When the flame bit she exclaimed, then understood her serpent as a springling of smoke. Whose tongue was blue. Whose fangs hooked her at the waist. Who breathed a hole in the blanket under the mirror that curled away and lit the dry grass underneath.
She stomped out the flame. The blanket kept melting. It formed a delta that relit the grass into hands blazing fingers, and she retreated in a half-backward run, on an animal path zigzagging down to the river. In mud ankle-deep, she threw off her uniform and dunked it. School shoes slurping and gurgling, she ran the soaked dress back towards the dreadful. Branches and vines anchored her scramble up the last bank shooting embers, and over, to her cobra multiplied into six crackling serpents engulfing her picnic. Dress flopping, she pounced, and they devoured the hair in her nostrils. Thwack went the dress at every side, and within, immersing her with the spew of their foul blue table, their spines wrapping her skin as she corralled and whipped until they collapsed into each other, and fizzled to a stewing, breathy silence.
Cloud regrouped, thick and pocketless, shrouding Girl-6 in her deed – panting, hugging herself with incredibleness, with triumph. Still, something burned, but this was the acrid and waxy smelt of synthetics. She looked down because she knew her shoes, though sodden and sooty, remained intact, and she was conscious of a tremendous nudity that her shoes made explicit. The smell was an evil beckoning ‘locate me, so here, so central,’ but she stayed on her black shoes. The evil pleaded. As if to steady herself for its corruption, her eyes shifted from shoes to picnic scene and carried out a ground report.
Only thing you cannot burn is what’s already burnt to hell!
The fallout was a fantastical science lesson, a moral riddle about personal power and hellfire – perversely, the essence of a potential hit song, and in quiet times, she’s reminisced on that brief creative elation. All that survived of her uniform was a blue-checked moon-shape, its edge a scorched corona. A flatworm was her pink pen. The basket, black. The tea set and beauty set made a waxy jam with charred mirror. After looking everywhere, here, right here, was Nerelee at last, in Girl-6’s arms. However, Nerelee was wrong, incomplete, yet endless. Following her sweet limbs, Girl-6 arrived at her new panties, dangling off her stomach. Their elastic edging had crusted and shaved a place in her skin. Nerelee’s foot had melted and attached to Girl-6’s stomach, and Girl-6’s stomach was curling around and over the foot.
When the pain struck, as if it had waited for this carousel awesomeness, she ripped the doll out, but she couldn’t save the foot from her stomach, or herself from the foot. She ran everything against the rush of mountain air. Has anyone run so fast? Looking back, she must have known instinctively, the necessity of living outside of time so heat and gore didn’t catch up, though they lived, and desired her intimacy. Pain knew as she knew mid-run, becomes a choice: you leave it behind for as long and as fast as you run. What happens is a real kind of time-travel – and in the same vein, speed turns your locality beyond logic. Possibly, theoretically – Girl-6 barely believes her own experience. With little but the blur of trees to contain her bodily sense, she grew aware of where she wasn’t, where she must be missed. White noise accompanied an image of her brother, her father, the picnic table: so vivid, she knew she’d viewed it from above, and so high did she fly, her body, progressing, transferring, glowing like a gladiator, was in her control. Into house, dashing body, climbing upstairs, into bed, falling, under an animal duvet, safe, away from ‘here-now-ness.’
Girl-6’s dominion over pain was fleeting, her time theory stood. Pain caught up, their relationship consummated under the ghost gums behind the house. She’d only stopped to gulp, and instantly felt dragged out from her magic duvet, and on the ground grasping her midsection; here she learned of pain’s taste, its hunger, ability, battlefields, births, the thousands of years of souls who knew it too. Nothing would ever know her so well. It was all so unfair. Girl-6 moaned for herself part of the time, for the lost ideal of play, for wasted fairy cakes, and for the feminine whispers of sisterhood snatched by six Girl-6-made cobras.
Thus returned to the now-of-here, she ran again, this time back down to the river and in. Underwater, she permitted a cry to satiate pain. It rippled a rogue tide along the banks and probably out to sea.
Comprehension was a violent, ecstatic pinnacle. In the hours that followed, the water’s blood warmth extended her physical sense of herself; the dread of irreparability kept her alert; a riverbed body mask sapped her of smoke, her youthful perception swung naturally, gladly, to buoyancy, through a rare brand of romance that attended her wilt. It had to. Loss, she saw, doesn’t cave on itself, doesn’t govern the negative territories, rather, it’s an invasion of new sense after the last has consumed itself; this had mass, and volume, like a flood, like absorption. Loss in a raw body becomes something grand, intriguing, consuming, and, having consumed all other territories, must become pleasurable at last. Great sufferers fill history – the greatest sorrow, the loneliest grief… She swam in her grief. Drowned in her sorrows – any poetic longevity in Happiness hardly compares.
Girl-6 owned that her suffering offset her guilt over potential mass-destruction – she couldn’t mollycoddle this romance, however… Foretelling family horror, this romance advised her to bury today. So, Girl-6 accepted that secret suffering gains virtue, and specialness; that individual ails little in comparison to her so-called caretakers, whose guilt might plummet them into helpless, self-absorbed sentiments – and in accepting all this, she afflicted herself with enough guilt for, what was inherently, a gain.
Then romance wanted her name for this episode. ‘Thank you – Vanity.’ She took comfort. No backstory need adhere to New Girl-6, going forth, quietly inhabiting home and school, exciting no suspicion in her will to amend and remorse properly. Vanity. Nature deemed hers overfull.
Nature, I have no belly button.
The dreaded train of self-sympathy, secretiveness, more self-pity – some injured girls turn their eyes into saucers and get bandages and pens from Nurse in Sickbay. Often, she’d peer in as the migraine, and aching tummy types lay under actual hospice blankets, basking in the awesomeness of feminine consolation. How she’ll miss her stomach horrifying them all!
While in the river, she’d ignored her father, a bat swooping the banks shrieking, his frenzied robe flapping. Mum was probably soft-sobbing. This made Girl-6 watchful for the suddenness of her stealth. In their calls was birth itself, clanging in her chest and crunching her ribs as she made fools of its makers. Her name as a flying muscle, blind and deceived. Her brother’s cries practically scalped her, but couldn’t beat the lone licking of wounds in the river. Shadows stretched treading arms, swishing and brushing, overpainting what she’d ruined underneath. Birds quit for the multi-tone overland hum. Clouds, increasingly black, were reachable, as a starless night fell and she welcomed its obscuring sweep.
‘Dear God let me disappear. Please! Let them think I’m dead so they’ll forget the bushfire that nearly erased a mountain face. Oh please…’
It took a sense of ‘overt specialness,’ Girl-6 supposes, to drag her from the river. Those shoes slopped along, caked mud like chains, as she climbed the track. Through banana trees up to the house, darkness and nudity tempered her progress – a darting spirit, reforming her life step-by-step, grasping an open window, melancholic for placement again. The haze of usualness as she crept was a body of times past. Her bedroom light was on, so she crawled through, her feet humming a feral tune as she crept below windows, noble in her slowness of motion. She wrapped a towel around her waist, squeezed her hair with another, and from her closet pulled the hem of her frilliest, flowy-est dress until it fell on her, and she wriggled herself in. From the shoes, she removed the feet, wiped them, crawled through the hall, and jumped the back window.
In a dell in the ficus hedge, she beheld her family: at the picnic table, her brother, soaked; muddy father in the robe he’d chuck for ‘negative recollections,’ fossicking ancient chambers of his mind, pleading for grounding within metaphysical answers. Mum, suit, and flip-flops. By the plank table, they swiveled directions with their bodies. A police car, two officers, notepad, and pen. On the table, her father’s cup that he kept picking up, sipping, finding empty, putting down. Cloud cover, lush. Girl-6’s sigh nearly exposed her. Who witnesses emotion like this? Only while lying on your deathbed, or announcing your terminal illness. Even with a lost limb, people get ‘sporting’, and rally around you. She was inside her parent’s heads with her mortality – maimed, kidnapped, a runaway… hold me!
Instead, she huddled overwhelmed in dearness for the past and her people. Dear Mum, click-clacking the officers’ pen. Brother, for whom most calamities are bearable, most worth a fiver over the results, swore he saw her, giving ‘m’oath’ to ground, mid-distance, to the beast in his brain. Mum slaying neighbors with finger-filled words: ‘do-gooder, potty, suspicious, never-there-open-to-squatters.’ Father, the hysteric: ‘a responsible girl. Not a wanderer. Bloody no: never. Never chats to strangers, avoids them.’ All wrong but she loved him for his faith.
Faith. The hedge inspired grotesque ideas. Sap-tacky leaves spoilt her dress. Pain; racing lion, sitting croc, soaring bird, was skin rerouting around Nerelee’s foot. She could feed pain her brother’s pills, and herself, some sleep. To build nerve never needed, now sought, she force-whispered the word, grizzle, and foretold her scar’s form – in one incarnation, a giant horse eating a donkey and spewing it out. Each year she and scar would grow. Go clothes shopping alone. Swim in full bathers. Go to sleepovers when everyone runs about naked for fun. No one could know, so Girl-6 would grow sly. What normal man would want her for a wife? Men being somewhat conceited, he’d have to carry a scar worse than hers. He’d want himself ten times the sorrier before he’d concede to loving her.
As she painted her male atrocity in her mind, she untacked the leaves from the flounce and pasted them to her head. She’d come from behind. ‘Mum! I guess I fell asleep, in there.’
The officers, wired for the scent of offense, tried to breach her film of slumber. Girl-6, dazed in the unfurrowing relief, squeezed into herself like a kitten. A performance governed by the resourceful romance, it shifted the scent and extinguished doubt. Mum dropped down, picked leaves off her damp head, and with her hug, unconsciously molded Girl-6’s skirt around her small hips and legs affirming her most thorough female safety. ‘I am alright,’ Girl-6 whispered, lifting Mum’s head from the towel wrapping beneath.
‘Hair’s damp,’ she murmured. ‘Swimming, eh?’ Mmm.
Relief oh drooling puppy set free. Still be the sacred delight in a girl riding the cusp of her feminine spurt, just woken from her midsummer’s dream, insensible of worldly calamities. Her father howled without tears because ‘tears are flowing full stops,’ he explained, and he was ‘still locked in the maze of horror. Come on, come on!’ he scolded himself. The policewoman said over him, ‘Suspect any burning on the mountain today – no one else smell it?’ ‘No,’ said the puppy to its leash.
Girl-6 woke to her clubhouse shimmering, the perilous genii seeking ground. While dumping earth and wheeling her barrow up from the river, she found Nerelee face up under wattles. Shoes Black Janet and Smokin’ Jane would hide their sooty smirks under lush polish, their warp under thick looping laces.
All Sunday, Mum pursued that uniform, finally calling foul for imagining there was ever a spare. Girl-6 got a new one, the sports-set too – the latest, boasting invisible stitching and a skirt with flappy pleats that you need to hold down in strong winds. Her sport-set has what she’d call, esprit; all the girls are getting it now and turning their old ones into bandana tops that squash new breasts together to coerce a cleavage.
Yes, to thrills. Life, she suspects, applauds empathy, towards others, towards self. If the white palace deplores inhumanity, it must tolerate status bonds. Girl-3 and Girl-6 must co-exist; as numbers advance the army, so to its sleeper soldiers. Still, Girl-6’s joy over the pleated sports skirt somewhat wanes in Nerelee’s absence and choice, to paraphrase her father, is ‘a bit of a buggar’ both ways: she must somehow befriend Girl-3 to an overpowering degree, or, burn down the school.
Overall, she’s angry with herself, for storing Nerelee at school, not here, at home, upstairs in her black nook, where it seems, at least to Girl-6, that adulthood’s distinguishing factor, beyond height, mortgages, and the absoluteness of decisions, is a unique solemnity owing to regrets, and consequentially, an unworthiness to express utter and unadulterated joy going forth. So adulthood, at its pinnacle, is courageous sadness.
Those who lack the courage need help. Here’s why nuns have nunneries; why this naked Girl-6 will have her white palace. Here’s why she won’t burn every rung of the status bond down with the school and the evidence somewhere, somewhere, inside.
Girl-6 won’t rise: ‘My body is an allegory. I am the emblem.’