"She bit her in the stomach! Right in the stomach!"
Teresa didn't know then that it would not be the last time.
Leading up to that moment, she was simply delighted to have made a friend. Katie was Teresa's first real friend; and by default, Angela, Katie's little sister, was her second friend, though little more than an afterthought.
As a kid, an only child, anyone with a pulse was eligible to be Teresa's friend. These two, however, needed allies.
"What in the hell is going on at that house? She even broke the skin!"
Teresa's grandmother had all but lost it and began putting on her shoes, preparing to march down the street, two houses over to the Harlow residence and give those snotty neighbors a piece of her mind.
"What is wrong with those parents? Biting! In the stomach?"
"Mother, don't." Examining the miniature punctures in her daughter's stomach, Brenda wiped away the few specks of blood. It wasn't the worst thing in the world for Teresa to learn how to get along with people–and how to recover from a setback.
Besides, Angela was in fact not yet three years old.
And the Harlows? Well, they were from an alternate universe.
That summer, they hosted elaborate parties, inviting exotic people who brought fanciful bottles, cooking foods that had all the colors and playing Latin music loudly in an attempt to drown out the laughter and voices that went on well in to the night.
Mark Harlow had been everywhere: Paris, Tokyo, Chicago. They had a standard poodle and Siamese cats. Their home was the fanciest on the modest block, though very few in the neighborhood had actually seen the inside. The next year, the family was heading to Rome, tickets already booked.
Then as fall approached, and with it a new school year, Ramona Harlow called Brenda about clothes-shopping. Do you really buy Teresa's clothes at garage sales? Does your mother make all of your clothes? Can people tell which clothes you've bought at K-Mart?
"We're broke, you know..."