My parents created everything in the image
of a perfect Alaskan family.
The home on the hillside
a cabin in Kenai
matching Xtratuf boots
a 5-star safety-test-rated Volvo
with all-wheel drive.
Pretty sure I’m the .5 kid.
Sana: You know what I think?
Me: It’s awfully late to be texting?
Maybe I should let people sleep?
Maybe I should BE asleep?
Sana: You’re not people.
You’re my Cordelia.
Me: What do you want?
Sana: She’s grumpy when she’s tired.
What are you going to do when you go off to fancy AF Columbia University and have to stay up all night going to frat parties so you can fit in?
Me: I might be up late, but I am not going to frat parties.
Sana: You’re no fun. Did you submit your senior project proposal yet?
Me: No, I thought I’d wait until the last minute.
Sana: . . .
Me: Obviously a joke. I turned it in the first day submissions were open.
Sana: See? This is why Columbia gave you early acceptance.
Did you remember to request me as a partner?
Sorry to hound you again but I’m nervous. I really need a good partner.
You know I choke when it comes to written stuff.
Me: Yes, I remembered. You’re going to do fine even if we don’t get paired.
Sana: Easy for you to say. You’re like really good at school stuff.
Even if I GET into college I’m going to need a good grade on my senior project to keep my GPA up.
Me: Oh my gosh. Stop!
Sana: You barely need to try. So you can focus all your energy on helping me record some soccer lessons. And edit them. And share them on all your social media. And maybe do the entire written portion for me?
Me: Hey. I have to try. Just like anyone else.
I already ordered the GeneQuest kit.
Any day now I’ll be researching my ancestry and writing poems about it.
Plus it’s going to tell me adopted.
Sana: Here we go.
Sana: Always with the “I’m adopted” and “I don’t fit in.”
I get it. You don’t feel like you fit in, but you’re not fucking adopted.
You have the best life.
Don’t shit on it.
I’d trade my trailer for your hillside mansion any day.
Me: For the last time, it’s not a mansion.
I love your trailer. It’s cozy, and no one walks into your room without knocking.
Sana: That’s because I don’t have a room.
GOD Delia! Way to make me feel bad about my life!
Me: . . .
I’m sorry. You know that’s not what I meant.
Sana: . . .
Sana: I know.
But it’s still kinda like a shelter dog listening to a forever-home dog complain about his living arrangements.
I’ll also take extra help on my college application. Thanks.
Pretty soon you’ll be off at Columbia living the life.
While I’m stuck here in Tundra Cove.
Me and my soccer ball.
The sign entering town says:
If we don’t already know you, we will.
Sana always says there’s nothing to do here.
That it’s the same parties
with the same people
trying to prove
you don’t know them
as well as you think.
I always thought I could spend my whole life here.
Finding beauty in the small things.
The way we’re nestled close enough to the inlet
that you can see beluga whales breach
or watch blue melt into pink in a perfect
cotton candy sunset over the water.
But also we’re on a mountain,
with endless trails to get lost on
and giant trees that seem to shoot up
out of nowhere
so high I forget
that the leaves at the top
aren’t part of the sky.
But Sana has always been too big for this town.
She needs to tell people they don’t really see her
—prove them wrong.
I don’t tell them I’m different,
because why bother?
They’d never believe me anyway.
To: Cordelia Koenig ([email protected])
From: Vidya Nadeer ([email protected])
Subject: Re: Senior Project Application
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