"She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew."
" He stared at me. "She liked you, boy."
The intensity of his voice made my eyes blink.
"Yes." I said.
"She did it for you, you know."
"Gave up her self, for a while there. She loved you that much. What an incredibly lucky kid you were.
I could not look at him. "I know."
He shook his head with a wistful sadness. "No, you don't'.You can't know yet. Maybe someday . . . "
"We continued this conversation for the next couple of days. I explained the ways of people to her. I said you can't cheer for everybody. She said why not? I said a person belongs to a group, you can't belong to everyone. She said why not? I said you can't just barge into the funeral of a perfect stranger. She said why not? I said you just can't. She said why? I said because. I said you have to respect other peoples privacy, there's such thing as not being welcome. I said not everybody likes having somebody with a ukulele sing "Happy Birthday" to them. They don't? she said.
This group thing, I said, it's very strong. It's probably an instinct. You find it everywhere, from little groups like families to big ones like a town or school, to really big ones like a whole country. How about really, really big ones, she said, like a planet? Whatever, I said. The point is, in a group everybody acts pretty much the same, that's kind of how the group holds itself together. Everybody? she said. Well, mostly, I said. That's what jails and mental hospitals are for, to keep it that way. You think I should be in jail? she said. I think you should try to be more like the rest of us, I said.
Why? she said.
Because, I said."