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Inpatient

by Christine C. Heuner

February. The snow is supposed to start around one P.M., so the school districts have an early dismissal. Your oldest daughter, Meghan, comes home with her shoulders slouched. Her backpack is heavy so this takes some effort. She goes into her room as she always does. Her father, your husband, has bought her everything to make it a haven: a lava lamp, a lighted device that intermittently expels a puff of eucalyptus air, tiny white lights snaking the bed’s metal headboard. A sheet with moons and stars hangs from the ceiling like a hammock. “No wonder she doesn’t want to come out,” you said.

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