AB Intra

Maybe — sadly — this is who I am, a person deeply influenced by what others want from her. Even people in her dreams, people barely taller than a new pencil. — Daniels

Because she was the one who translated for her parents, she saw how the nice ones treated them like children and the mean ones tried to take advantage of them. She understood that they weren’t welcome, that they would always be seen as strangers. She became watchful and suspicious and always felt out of place. — Kim

Because of the timidity of my aggressiveness toward my source language, the translator wrote, reasoning poorly, the books on my shelves became monsters to my eyes, signs of my failure, not sites of solace, and my reading a sickness, an addiction that destroyed rather than engendered life, that kept life from coming into being. — Whalen

The kids seem to take it as a badge of honor that there were no presents, either because it meant they were growing up or we had confirmed their idea that their parents were incompetents, or maybe both. I assured them we’d make it up in the coming days. — McLibman

Over time, he started tracking which cats stayed and which went to “forever homes.” The kittens had much better luck than the adults. Was this because they were cuter, or because humans wanted their cats to be theirs — to grow up with them and somehow reflect them? Jon did not want to be reflected. — Solomon

And no, she was certainly not languishing in a forgotten corner at the Inaugural Ball on her fiftieth birthday, wilting like iced delivery flowers on the doorstep, waiting for the President and First Lady to arrive, completely bored but feigning interest in her husband’s small-stakes small talk with small-dick party donors, her husband who was not really her husband after all, which was fine, really and truly fine with her, not that anyone asked — Greenberg

The author had been off the radar somewhere south of Tulum for two decades. He’s a beekeeper, William had read somewhere. Or he subsists off the roots of local plants. Or he married an older woman who is a famous shaman, and they spend their days micro-dosing. — Stuber

Growing up, his mother had only said, “아빠는 고생 만 했어, 더 물어보면 더 힘드니까 질문 하지마.” Your father suffered a lot. Asking only makes it harder, so don’t ask any questions. However, during his sophomore year of high school, his best friend at church, Yoon Kim, asked Jae if he knew that his grandfather was a cult leader. — You

She also knows, in her spleen of spleens, that later, after she delivers the document and he says thanks and walks away with hardly a head nod in her direction, there will be weeping — but also, as an aftereffect, more special powers derived for her, and she’s curious to know what she’ll get next — extreme strength or the ability to fly or climb walls? — Zeller

Outside the window, a streetlight slanted in a lozenge of light, and across the room, the half-opened door loomed like a giant tombstone. Without warning, her bed sailed toward it as if down a chute, the rails flickering as if illuminated by strobe lights. She tried to hold on, but her fingers were filled with helium. Maybe she could float out of this dangerous place. — Taugher

I’ll take you to Santa Monica Pier,” he said. “Mulholland Drive, Laurel Canyon, Malibu. We can go anywhere.” He could take the baby and drive, seven-hundred-fifty miles a day and be done, but the baby couldn’t stay in the car seat that long. Not good for the spine. Only four and a half weeks old. — Marino

But it was one thing to observe other people’s privilege; it was something else when it transformed my entire life, my mindset, the way I approached virtually every choice. Sometimes, when I really thought about it, it still surprised me how effectively I had managed to bury my past. — Mirengoff

Because his social role had doomed Keith to fail in all matters romantic, he’d decided to invest his amorous undertakings with zany quixotry: if he was going to strike out, he figured, it might as well be with a girl you could start a religion around as with a girl who, in an earlier age, might have been encouraged to take the veil. — Rothschild

Science is under attack, climate change a hoax, vaccines the cause of all life’s ills, but for some reason forensic shrinks like you still take the stand as expert witnesses. The system still makes use of a science even you have come to doubt. Isn’t that why you turned to forensics? — so no one would expect you to cure them? — Lefer

We then had to do that annoying thing the reverend makes everyone do: turn to the person next to you, look into their eyes, and tell them they are beautiful and brilliant and have come into the world to do something extraordinary and that we will do it together. Not for a minute do you believe any of this while you are saying it, and I especially did not while looking into Das Aram’s eyes because I did not trust him — Teasley

National City is a continual emanation. Your skin needs it, but it can harm you. National City is-es without stop: past, present, and future. Give me some of your Vitamin D Avenue. I need it. I want it. But don’t burn, cuz like Los Illegals said, we don’t need a tan. — Guzman-Lopez