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270 pages, Hardcover
First published March 15, 2016
I couldn’t help but wonder: What if, that afternoon in the trailer, my mom had decided just that once to take care of me? To drive me to safety-somewhere both of us could ride out the storm together? What if she had finally done the right thing? Was what I’d gained in Oz-strength, power, respect, self-reliance-worth what I’d lost?
Part of me felt way too old for that now. No, not even too old. Too tired. Too experienced. I’d fought in a war. I’d seen too much of the world to believe in any of that crap, even for an hour.
But at the same time, being back home, and seeing my mom like this, was doing something funny to me. It was like everything that had happened in Oz was drifting away. It was like I was waking up and looking around and realizing, slowly, that it all had just been a weird, terrible dream.
"Of course, once you weren’t around for a while-you know, I almost missed you. Almost. This is Dustin Jr., by the way.” She patted the baby, who made a burbling noise. Madison’s baby was downright ugly. Then again, I guess most new babies are. He looked like a little old man who couldn’t find his dentures. His cheeks were too fat and his face was squashed-looking, as if someone had stepped on his head. Plus, he was bald as an egg. But I felt bad for him. It wasn’t his fault that his mom was the biggest bitch in Kansas-well, second biggest, now that I was back.
"You,” she said, her voice more exhausted than angry. “It always comes back to you, doesn’t it.”
I closed my eyes again and lost myself in the sensation of the kiss. He shifted his weight and grunted with pain, and I started to laugh again. After a second, he laughed, too. His mouth moved to my neck, and then my ear. “Amy,” he said softly, his voice rough with emotion. “I am so not supposed to be doing this, but-"
"Yeah, I know,” he replied. “But you know what I liked about it?”
“It reminded me of you. Everywhere I looked, I couldn’t stop thinking, This is where Amy’s from. This is the dirt that she walked on. This is the sky that she grew up under. It’s the place that made you who you are. And that’s what made me like it.”
Suddenly, I thought of my mom. Magic for me was as destructive as pills had been for her. The same addiction-and the same results. I’d fallen in love with power the way she’d fallen in love with oblivion. I’d hated her for what her addiction had done to her-to us-but was I really any different?