Pinkie got placed, too, and we kept in touch for a while. I invited her over after school once because she wanted to see where I lived. She wandered from room to room and touched everything she saw: books, a stone coaster on the coffee table, an empty vase. Pictures on the mantle. Chazz and Marlene didn't have a lot of stuff, so you actually could touch it all. And everything they had fascinated Pinkie. She touched each item with reverence, as if it were as fragile or volatile as she. She took a hand-carved wooden tribal mask from the wall and gently drew it to her face. She looked around for a mirror, and I pointed her to the hall.
"Where is this from?"
I knew, because I had asked the same question my first night here, but I had not taken the mask from the wall and put it to my face, though I had wanted to.
"Marlene and Chazz got it in Bali. They went there after college."
Pinkie nodded, as if that were something she herself had done or might do. She walked back to where the mask belonged and hung it with care. I had felt the same fascination with this house and all the evidence in it of a life I had missed, and seeing Pinkie's expression embarrassed me. I saw on her face and in her movements my own ignorance and naiveté. I saw what I had looked like to Chazz and Marlene the night they brought me home. I discovered another facet of this new world and something else I had to hide so that no one would know I didn't belong. It was as easy and automatic for me to put on as any of the other deceits had been. By this time in my life, I was a pro.