“See? Here are the men in scarlet jackets with gold braid, the grand stairway with rainbow light, the hall of mirrors where I played. And look, here’s someone carrying me through gardens.” I turned the sketchbook pages of my earliest memories, carefully rendered in watercolors. I was eighteen and sure that my art would convince her.
My mother had just spread a rectangle of sweet dough with melted butter, chopped nuts, and cinnamon sugar. “No, those were dreams, Hazel. You’ve always dreamed and you’re always drawing. But dreams aren’t real. We never had a garden. Look around this ﬂat. Do you see rainbow light? Men in scarlet jackets with gold braid? Mirror halls? This is Pittsburgh.”