Gretchen’s parents knew all about the chair trick. Anything sweet and sugary had to be hidden out of sight the best they could manage, and yet the two of them knew it was a thankless task. Other than locking the food in a box, nothing was safe from their only daughter’s insatiable hunger. This time, they had attempted to prevent her from getting her hands on the bag of chocolate chip cookies by hiding it behind a giant bag of rice. A lame attempt if ever there was one. She knew it had been her mother’s choice to prevent her from finding the goodies. She always hid the sweet treats in the most obvious of places; up high and behind something. At least her father was more imaginative. He often hid things in obscure places, like in shoes, or behind the TV. Her mother had no imagination for such tasks, which was another reason why she wasn’t overly keen on her, for even at such a young age, there was a rift between them that would only widen as the years progressed. She can’t remember when it started, but even in her earliest memories, there was conflict. Whether it be the hiding of food or Gretchen’s love of her father’s farts; one would disagree with the other whatever the subject. Perhaps it wasn’t that they were too dissimilar, but rather the opposite; that they were two peas in a pod. They were both vying for the affection of the man they loved more than any other—a man who spent his days trying his best to avoid giving too much of himself away for fear that there would be nothing left for himself. It was a battle that would define all of their lives, and it began here, in this boxy apartment that to Gretchen was more akin to a prison.