i was moving. into a dorm room but not a school dorm room. like, a “this is your new life get used to it” dorm room. and before i moved there i got two hamsters. i don’t know if i bought them or they were given to me… can’t remember. but i remember pulling them out. they were so warm and their little bellies bulged and i loved them. i was frightened by how fragile they feel. i haven’t held one in years. then i put them back in the cage and went to live in my room. it was dark and gray and bare and i put the hamsters on the floor by the bed. then i decided to go out and figure the new place out and a few days passed. i was at a make-up store and i was mad because my mom gave me a gift certificate even though she KNOWS i don’t wear makeup. she was there and i was just trying all different kinds of lipstick and blush on my hand. there were tables with big lighted mirrors sitting across from you so you could decide on what looked best. then a bunch of school age girls came in. like 9 year olds. and they were having a birthday party there because all the parks were closed and so businesses were offering their space to the kids. they were screaming and laughing and putting on makeup and practicing in the mirrors how to be divas. and i talked to someone at some point about pets and i remembered that i had the hamsters and i ran to my room and thank god they were alive!!!! someone explained to me what they eat. it was a piece of crustless bread with jam on it, then you would take out a chunk of it so that it looked like a latch and then you would add another half to it that would have this little basket pellet thing of nutrients in it. and that was important. because anything could make it look right, make the food look like it fit together and the hamsters would eat it, but only the nutrient pellet would lock in place and hold the latch closed and only the nutrient pellet would keep them healthy. and i said i understood and then i was this calico hamster looking at my blonde cage-mate. she was fat and quiet and didn’t say much. she had two lights on her head. i had at first looked down on her for that. *I* had 56 lights on my head. each light was from a person who had thought of me and wished me well since i was taken to this place. sometimes they would go out and disappear, but days later, i still had a lot of poeple thinking about me. but her two lights…. they were always steady, always bright, and never went out. she didn’t have any others, but she always had those. and suddenly i understood that she must be a very good soul to have two others, whether they were friends or parents or family or loves…. they truly loved her even when she was gone. and she never complained about the conditions or being torn from them. i thought that she must feel their love. she must feel their lights on even though she couldn’t see them up behind her eye on the left side of her head. i had been complaining, bragging, wanting to go back to everyone, using my lights as proof that i shouldn’t be here in this place, that i was meant for something better. but i didn’t know if my lights were on or not. i just assumed they were. she KNEW. and suddenly i loved her very much for it and decided i was going to make the best of the situation and stick by her no matter what. that the old life was over.