At the drop-in center, Erika beamed at Max across the table, as he applied himself without complaint to the practice trigonometry exam that they had drawn up together during study hall.
He couldn’t draw the triangles without thinking about the height as a depth, the depth of an unlighted shaft in a nineteenth-century factory, a bottomless pit that opened under an unobtrusive hole in a plank floor. Nonetheless he finished all of the problems, even the hard ones, as he turned over in the back of his mind how to tell the story to Erika. He understood why she liked this, now. It was a great deal simpler than the world with its ghosts and its tangle of stories and its family secrets.
He thought about it some more as she marked the exam.