Then I meet this man. This Thomas. She brings him home like he's some kind of gift.
And I'm told to be nice. I'm told to stand still. I'm made to wash my face.
I stand in front of him with my arms straight down at my sides. He's in the kitchen, crossing in front of the light like an eclipse. Our kitchen table looks strangely small. Our ceilings too low. I'm watching the front door and willing him to walk back out of it. Instead he bends down until his face is even with mine.
"She looks just like you," he says.
"You don't look like anyone special at all," I tell him. And I curse him. And I start a club to hate him. And I make a magic spell to get rid of him. And when she marries him, when we pack up our apartment and move into his house, when I change schools and have to eat the food he likes to eat, I don't talk to him.
"Anna," my mom says.
"What?" I say.
"Be nice," she says. "He's our family now."
Excerpted from Uses for Boys by Erica Scheidt. Copyright © 2013 by Erica Scheidt. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Griffin. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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