VIII.

A five-year-old girl-child. Sensitive. Shy. Her clean brown hair is neatly parted and braided into two braids. Colored barrettes pin down any would-be stray hairs. She speaks very little English. German, the language of God and church, is her first Sprache. English is the language of “the world”. She does not live in “the world”. At least, she’s not supposed to. She knows nothing of pop culture, TV, music, Disney, cartoons. She does not even know what TV is, not really. She sees and hears things when she’s shopping with her mother. IGA, the grocery store, reliably plays music that’s both boring and interesting at once. (Later, the woman she’ll become will conduct a postmortem of these memories and realize it was bad jazz.) The doctor’s office plays something called the radio. Walmart has better sounds playing in its space, but it’s still a mixed bag. Sometimes the songs are very beautiful. Sometimes they are a little frightening. The girl listens to every word. Some parts of Walmart have screens showing people dancing and singing, or talking and living life. It’s very confusing. How did the people get onto those screens? No one will say.