The sun’s eyeball bore through me like a piece of parchment paper. Tied down to a dead end job in a sick little joke of a city, I fell asleep each night to the slow ticking of kindling branches against the windowpane. Their bony fingers reminded me of my grandfather. He used to tell a story about a woman from his home town in Bosnia who kept a locket of her daughter’s hair so long that it grew into her sister. His accent always bled through when he told it, betraying the story’s truth. This time, I couldn’t hide reality behind a phony American accent. I had to accept that my mother lived and died walking the streets, sacrificing her dignity to keep us alive.