Nature had always been my friend because my family wasn’t always. Not that I was necessarily neglected, but they didn’t always share my beliefs. My father worked all the time and didn’t necessarily believe in a solid work-life balance. His job and meetings were always more important than my plays and sporting events. He worked late the night my soccer team won our first (and my only) state championship. My mother was always around and wanted to be my best friend instead of my mother. She wanted to go to parties with me, wanted to shop for new clothes with me, wanted to read and share my diaries with all of my friends. 

As I got older, the more time I spent out of the house. Most of the time, I explored the woods behind our house and found out secrets about our neighbors they would be horrified that I knew. I knew who was drinking too much and I knew who was cheating on their spouse. The most interesting neighbor I found was Mr. Moore. It was unclear what he did for a living and he had been the subject of an astounding amount of gossip over the years. But in my nature wanderings, I found a nook in a set of trees where I had a direct view into his living room. I knew I shouldn’t be spying, but I couldn’t help myself. He was too interesting. Too scary. Too lonely. Everything came to a head when I snuck into his house and discovered the basement. The basement full of vintage porcelain dolls. I never went back to the basement or to my spying vantage point, but one day one of the dolls ended up on my bed. I began to wonder how long I had left to live. 


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