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  • When I was little - one, maybe two years old - I told my mam about the girl in the oven.

    "Pretty," I said, watching the girl stroke her golden curls. Mam laughed and crouched down beside me, looking with me through the glass. "See? Pretty girl."

    The girl in the oven quickly became my best friend. She laughed at my jokes, and listened to me when I was upset or hurt. She always returned the smiles I offered, even when she was sad. She had to be sad, I decided, because she lived in such a small oven with only one window to the outside world. It's like the mermaid in her grotto, I thought, singing "Part of Your World" at the oven door to help her sleep at night.

    Over the next year, I watched the girl grow up - just like me! - and cried when my father said we were going to move.

    "But the girl!" I shrieked, dashing into the kitchen. "Daddy, we can't leave the girl!"

    "What girl?" he asked with a sigh. He reluctantly followed me, stopping a few feet inside the room.

    "The girl!" I repeated, pointing a short, puffy finger at my friend. She pointed back, staring at my dad with fearful eyes. I wanted to hug her, to let her know everything was going to be okay.

    "The only 'girl' I see is you," my father said, folding his arms over his chest. "That's your reflection in the glass."

    The revelation was earth-shattering. I was transfixed by bright blue irises filling with tears - my tears, I realized - and wept, sobbed, mourned. My best friend was gone, nothing more than fractured light on dirty glass.
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