We moved from East Peoria to Berkeley the summer I turned eight. Chelsea and Aaron, my classmates, were getting married that August, I wrote in my diary, and I was angry about missing it. What is it like in an eight-year-old’s brain? I was competitive in class; I needed to earn the most Cheerios for spelling the most words correctly. I was obsessed with my dog, an Akita named Jaja, and drew her face everywhere. She had a thick white coat, with black ears and black eyes. Indoors, I lay against her belly like a couch and read books there, and she let me. Outdoors, in the snow, I put on my pink coat with the furry hood from my obaachan in Japan and clung to her, imagining she was the sled dog Balto, whose animated movie I loved. I took violin lessons and did math drills at Kumon, both of which I hated. My middle brother and I fought viciously over nothing; I fought with words and he dug tiny nails into my arm and once stuck a paring knife into my bedroom door. In the winter our parents took us sledding on plastic discs. I learned the word property from the old woman who lived next door and shouted, “Get off my property!” I learned the words fuck and sex from her granddaughter; a year younger than me, she knew too much. Several photos of me in East Peoria show me sitting next to a line of stuffed animals, looking concerned. I didn’t want them to see that I loved some of them more than others. With their cute faces and soft, tiny bodies, they all deserved equal love and I couldn’t give it to them.