Chapter One: September 1999
I learned to know the world through words, but they were not my own. From the beginning of my life, as I remember it, everything I understood was made plain to me in her language, which I knew much better than my own. Her quiet voice, her exquisite gentle articulation, her loving eloquence, all of these things spoke me through my days, comforted my nights, and gave each hour of every twenty-four its substance, shape, and meaning from the time that I was born.
She knew me well, and at each moment of my need, she spoke the words I needed. Sometimes the words were abstract, the language vague, but the...