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I am sucking on shelled sunflower seeds. I eat in silence savoring the salt.

“Can you teach me how to talk…more proper? People look at me like I am crazy. Maybe if I talked better, people would–”

My look into her head shuts her up. Her face begins to crumble. I cannot be still any longer.

“Child, you are a shining star. The people who don’t listen are dishonoring and disrespecting you. You don’t need to bend and change for them! It’s not your responsibility as a communicator to make people who don’t want to listen pay attention. There are people who need you shut down and destroying yourself. As you hurt yourself, you lose all responsibility and actions of love. Then, you are no longer dangerous or fierce. They need you to dig a big, black hole where your heart should be. And, then you try to fill the hole up with more cars, more make up, more pills. They will tell you anything and everything to quiet your soul’s stretching. You don’t need speech makin’ lessons. Child, you are who you need to be right now.”

She looks up lit and ready.

I fall back into silence, remembering.