"Have a cup of tea, dear," she says, placing a china tray on my lap. I held a teapot, cup, sugar, cream, and a plate of sugar cookies. She slips a spoon into my hand. I pour a cup of tea and stir in sugar and cream. I wonder if she's trying to poison me. I sip it carefully and help myself to a cookie. It tastes like regular tea and cookies, anyhow. "So," she says. "Stella's girl. What's your name, dear?" "Emily," I reply. "That's right," she says quietly, looking up at the ceiling. "I forgot after all these years." "You - you knew my mother?" I say, surprised. "Knew is an understatement," she says. "We were closer than anything. But we sort of lost touch after high school ended." I wonder what that must be like, to lose your best friend. Terrible, I bet. "So, how is Stella? Did she give you that card?" My stomach tightens. "A hurricane hit our house," I mutter. Her face goes white. "Is she in the hospital? She's all right, isn't she?" "She's dead!" I yell, angry for some reason. "Her husband, too! Everyone is dead! Except me, because life wanted me to stay in my misery forever!" The woman looks surprised and ready to faint. "Stella would have taught better manners," she says, looking angry herself now. "STOP TALKING ABOUT MY MOTHER!" My shout is deafening. "STOP TALKING ABOUT HER LIKE YOU KNEW HER! YOU NEVER KNEW HER, YOU PATHETIC OLD WOMAN! STOP PRETENDING YOU DID! STOP IT!" Why am I doing this? I suppose I needed to vent about my parent's death. Well, my mother's. I never really loved my father. He wasn't attentive. I didn't know him well. Did that screw me up?