She spells it: anesthesiologist. A n e s t h e s i o l o g i s t. She doesn’t need the definition but she think of it. Makes one numb.
A muffle of something rises and falls in the audience. It might be simultaneous coughs, it might be “wows.” It might be her parents disagreeing.
Her hair is in braids because her mom said that was bee-ish, and she didn’t have the energy to disagree with her mom.
Her dad is there, front row and dead center, half embarrassed at her genius. The other half is proud. He keeps his arms crossed, lets a smile wrinkle one cheek when the last letter leaves her lips.
Afterward: lunch at the diner. The parents bickering over the parking spot, the booth, the menu. The smell of hot turkey, fried something, and apple pie. It isn’t celebratory. She orders peanut butter pie, plays with the salt and pepper shakers, thinks of kids less fortunate than her, kids with allergies.
She spells epinephrine in her head. Three times, to block out the voices seated across from her.