When I turned four years old, my mother blew out my candles before I could. She whispered in my ear and told me I would never remember this day. I saw her grab something shiny out of a backpack, but it wasn’t a gift. She went to her room and I didn’t see her for the rest of the day. Two of my friends (if you can call anyone a friend when you’re four years old) were there that day. Peter and Clay. Their mothers had dropped them off. My father (the responsible one; I knew this even then) took us all to the park after we had the cake. Clay threw a rock at Peter and Peter started to bleed. The park was ruined. I cried. My dad gave me a hug and said we’d come back tomorrow. The mothers were called. Peter’s mother scooped him up and squeezed him tight. Told Peter everything would be okay. I didn’t know mothers showed affection. I thought only dads did things like that. My mother died on my sixteenth birthday. I don’t think she ever told me that she loved me.