Melinda goes to her closet after school rather than ride home on the bus with her peers. She greets her poster of Maya Angelou, her Cubist tree, and her turkey-bone bird sculpture, and curls up for a nap. Sleeping at home has gotten even more difficult; in fact, she has begun to sleep walk to the kitchen door in an unconscious attempt to escape her house.
Melinda’s insomnia is yet another symptom of her depression, and of how unsafe and uneasy she feels in her house. Her closet feels more home-y than her actual home, as it is filled with things that she cares about and that reflect her personality.
Waking up, Melinda realizes that she has slept until the final basketball game of the season. She intends to go straight home, but instead gets caught up in the excitement, standing at the door of the gym and watching as the team wins. The cheerleaders cry, the coaches hug, and even Melinda begins to clap. Still wanting to be a part of the community, Melinda dawdles at the door until she’s spotted by David Petrakis, who invites her to accompany him and his friends to his house for pizza.
This moment embodies Melinda’s conflicted attitude about her self-isolation. Although she feels that it is her only option, she is in fact deeply lonely and unhappy. Her longing for other people, and for a community, is so strong that she even gets uncharacteristically excited about a basketball game.
Melinda freezes at the idea of a party, and excuses herself immediately, mentally commenting that she doesn’t “have a good track record with parties.” Feeling torn as she walks home, Melinda wonders if she has multiple personalities. An argument rages in her head, with a voice she calls Melinda One asserting that she should have gone to the party after all. She reminds herself, however, with a voice she calls Melinda Two, that the world is unsafe, and that David could have been trying to lure her to his house. Hating the feeling of being split, Melinda wonders, “If I kick both of them out of my head, who would be left?”
Although she is undoubtedly drawn to David Petrakis, Melinda’s trauma is instantly triggered by the idea of a party. The argument she imagines in her mind, meanwhile, is a clear reflection of her internal turmoil. On one hand, she wishes to be as innocent and free as she used to be; on the other hand, she believes that the only way to protect herself is to be defensive and guarded from any and all possible threats.