Excerpts from Nobody Nowhere

Donna aged 4 months

My mother decided that it was time for me to get a job. I was fifteen years old. [...] Soon the box of fur coats began to fill up, and the boss passed by, impressed with the speed of my work. He decided to check the quality. A horrified look grew upon his face, and he began to shout as he turned each garment around and around. "What have you done?" he screamed over and over. "Button-holes in the sleeves, button-holes in the collar, button-holes in the back panel. Get the hell out of here." "Can I have my money?" I asked shyly. "No!" he screamed. "Do you know what you've done? You've caused me thousands of dollars in damage. Get the hell out of here before I kick you out." I hadn't realized that the button-holes were meant to go anywhere in particular.

Donna aged 6 years

The woman sitting on Anne's bed was screaming at her over and over again to shut up and propping the doll back in its place with every shove Anne made to push it away. It was more than I could take. Physically I moved the woman out of the way, moved the doll and gave her my brush. Anne ran her fingers repetitively through the bristles listening to the soft, barely audible sound in her ear and the sensation in the hand. I began to hum a repetitive tune I used to do for myself over and over again as I tapped her arm in time to the hypnotic tune. Then, for a frozen fifteen seconds, in that torchlit dark room, she completely uncrossed her eyes for the first time since I'd met her and looked directly into my face as she tapped and now hummed.