I stop listening to my music and start listening to her when she says: I can’t begin to tell you how much I want this year to end.

Math is done, the girl sitting behind me on the bus says into her phone. Math is done. Math is done. I wonder about the use of repetition in dialogue. She doesn’t mean the year 2016 I gather, she means her school year. She has plans to move in with her friends, but she doesn’t call them her friends, she calls them something else. All that’s left for me to do is make sure they have some regular jobs, she says. A police raid is the last thing I need.

10 years. That’s 10 years. 10 years, she says, of her cousin who is in federal jail up in Rhode Island. In 10 years, I will be 30. That’s crazy, she says, twice, and it reminds me of how I used to feel when I thought of myself turning 30: a distant, thrilling time when wisdom would come naturally and experience was something that had already happened to me, not something I was running after.

We don’t talk about the kids, she says. We don’t talk about the kids, meaning her cousin’s kids, who will grow up with their father in jail. Hell, you talk to him. You talk to him, she says.

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