At age seven, Millie unlocked a frigid home, taped her knee bruised from playing at school, and waited for Mum to come home from work. Mum didn’t notice her wound or the stained floor; she talked instead of painting her nails purple. At age eleven, Millie showed her grades to Dad on the wall; he smiled from behind the glass—he always did. Mum returned sloshed, cursing Allan, and went straight to bed. Yesterday, Millie got a scholarship to study at Warmouth. She packed her bags and left before Mum was home. Her terse note rested on a woefully frigid desk.
— Mandira Pattnaik