"It's for her Bat Mitzvah," the woman says, indicating her daughter, who regards me with a face devoid of expression save for a wide-eyed suspicion. My friendliest smile seems to only drive her further into the curve of her spine, where she hunches, all unformed and bristling with exposed nerve endings, like a clam without its shell.
I find myself imagining myself at her age, likewise unformed and too-sensitive, and recoil at the thought. I would literally give anything, I think to myself as I slip her long, pale, foot into a shoe, to never have to be that young again.
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