It happened on the corner of 147thand Miller, beneath the long branches of an oak hanging over the corner. It happened often enough— usually to white kids crossing U.S.1 in front of the University of Miami or other tourists on The Beach—but seldom in this residential area, and never on this intersection.
When Mary was executed, the first cut of the ax missed her neck and hit the back of her head. The second cut hit her neck, but didn’t slice all the way through. A stubborn strip of flesh held her together until the executioner sawed through it.
The doctor placed his hand on the top of my head. Be careful with this, he said. There’s really not so much holding it all together.
The next day, I packed up and left school. I knew that at some point I’d have to go back and finish, either this school or a different one, but it didn't matter. I already knew it would never feel over.
We had mistakenly received a sweater in the mail. It came in a plastic bag. It was red with two oblong holes. It could have belonged to a boy or a girl. I stretched it on the floor and tried to imagine the body that would fit inside. I had difficulty picturing the child’s smile. I could imagine the face, only there was never a mouth, like it had been swept away by the flames after the school bus tumbled down the ravine...
Thomas didn't answer. He had, in fact, booked the trip after his sister found him curled up in the tub at his new apartment, shivering under a shower that had run cold. She called her husband, a self-styled amateur psychologist with a graduate degree in botany, and the two of them staged an intervention.