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Clipped Wings

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Sierra knows that the other people in this house are her friends, and so she waves and says, “hello,” when she and her handler pass them by. Some of them say it back, but one of them asks if he’s seen her somewhere before.

She wants to say yes, yes, you have, but he might ask her where and when they saw each other, and she isn’t sure that she knows how to answer. She wants to tell him that his shirt is the color of the sky, even though she can’t see the sky here. (Her dress is a soft green, which she likes almost as much.)

Mr. Hearn says that Sierra hasn’t been with them for very long, and she believes him. “It’s time for me to take her upstairs now, Victor. She has a treatment scheduled.”

“You’ll like it here,” Victor says, smiling at her. “Everybody is so nice.”

“I think that I will,” Sierra assures him.

“You can talk to each other later.” Mr. Hearn puts a hand on Sierra’s shoulder and leads her away. She believes that, too, because she always trusts him.

For a moment, when she lies back in the chair for her treatment, she sees every color that she can imagine, fluttering behind her eyelids like wings.