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.The one on the right was my grandmother, Rosabel Stirling.I picked the frame up and held it over my head so I could look up at it as I lay back down.These pictures had a new significance now that I knew more about the people in them.My grandmother—famous, beloved Annorasi.My mother—infamous, misbehaving Annorasi? My father—troublesome human? I still wasn’t quite sure what to think about either of my parents.I forced the lecture inside my head to rewind, all the way past the beginning and back to yesterday, back to when Gran had first told me the fire that had killed my parents had not been an accident, as I’d always been told it was.I played her words back over and over again as well, searching my insides for the appropriate emotion, for any sort of proper reaction to the news that my parents had been murdered.There was none.No emotion, and no reaction.Just as there hadn’t been any yesterday, and just as there hadn’t been any today, when Lucas had brought the whole thing up again.Now, before you start thinking horrible thoughts about me, let me rephrase.It wasn’t that I had no reaction at all to the news of my parents’ and grandmother’s murder.Of course I did.It’s just that my reaction was very similar to the way I’m pretty sure I would have felt upon hearing that an acquaintance’s parents had been murdered.Shock? Yes.Sadness? Certainly.But missing was any sense of personal loss, or any feelings of deep-down, anguishing grief.There wasn’t even a good, healthy dose of anger at finding out I’d been intentionally robbed of loving, caring parents and the life I could have had with them.I wasn’t having any of the kinds of feelings I imagined I should be having.I stared hard at the faded, somewhat fuzzy picture of my parents in the frame.My mother, with her freckles and her red hair.My father, with his pointy nose and whitish blonde hair.In the picture, they’re both smiling.Was I some sort of monster because I had no feelings for these people? Or was it because I had no real memories of them?Back when we’d been friends, Emily and I had discussed what it was like to be kids whose parents were dead exactly once.Her parents had died in a car crash when she was four, and she’d spent a year in a foster home before being adopted by Mary and Joshua Archer.She considered them her parents, just as I considered Gran to be mine.Like Gran, they dragged out a photo album a couple of times each year so Emily would remember her biological parents.Like me, Emily said she only thought of her biological parents at those moments; the rest of the time, the Archers were her parents, her life was her life, and that was the end of it.But the thing that always stuck in my head the most about our talk had been the part where Emily told me she remembered her parents.Really remembered them, as in, she had pictures of them in her head that hadn’t come from memorizing the contents of a photo album.When she told me that, I remember thinking how strange it was that even though I’d been two full years older when my parents died, I had no memories of them.Not a single one.In fact, I had no memories at all about my life before I came to California with Gran.I didn’t remember England.I didn’t remember Gran telling me my parents had died.I didn’t remember getting on a plane and flying from London to San Francisco.I didn’t remember arriving at this house.My first, honest-to-goodness memory was walking into my first day of first grade.The teacher—Mrs.Charles—had sat me down on the floor next to Nate and asked him if he could please share the Lincoln Logs with me.That was it.Not a single, solitary memory of my life before that moment.Why was that?I looked at the pictures in the frame again.I knew the people in those pictures, but I knew them the same way I knew the state capitals, or that Au is the chemical symbol for gold on the periodic table.Because I had learned it.Years of study had committed every detail of the photographs to memory, but I couldn’t remember ever seeing these people with my own eyes.Was that why I couldn’t work up the proper emotion to the news of their murders?It couldn’t be because I was a heartless wretch through and through.I couldn’t even imagine how distraught I’d be if anything were ever to happen to Gran, or to Nate, or to Olivia [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]