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Mick never has a nickel to herself any more. Since her family has had to pay for Baby Wilsonís private room and private nurse, they lost the house and are now renting it. All the older members of the family work to contribute to the meager common fund. They eat mainly grits and grease and side meat. She is often hungry. She still goes to her inside room where she composes music and thinks of Mr. Singer. She works on her music all the time in her notebook. She stops working on her school work to have more time for it. She is frustrated that she cannot write the music as it sounds in her head. She "had to thin it down to only a few notes; otherwise she got too mixed up to go further." She had one piece going called "This Thing I Want, I Know Not What." It takes a great deal of work to get even the shortest amount of it worked out. Her voice is always hoarse from humming it all the time. She plans for the future when she will be a world famous conductor of an orchestra and will wear either a manís tuxedo or a red rhinestone- spangled dress.
She thinks often about Mr. Singer. She feels as if they have a secret together. He is the only person in the inside room, though there have been others there in her past. One was Celeste, a girl in her sixth-grade class. She was obsessed with Celeste all during that year. Later, there was a boy named Buck, an outcast child who smelled bad and had bad skin. Another time, it was a woman who sold tickets for the lottery. Others followed. Mr. Singer is different, though. She remembers when he first came to rent the room. She knows that if he could talk, he would tell her many things and that he would be some kind of great teacher. She studies over each new thing she learns from him. If he ever writes anything on his little pad of paper, she takes it off somewhere and studies over it for hours.
Mick remembers Harryís school career. He had always been very quiet and cross-eyed as a young child. When he entered Vocational High School, he had been hounded by the other kids when they read about the Jew in Ivanhoe and his mother had taken him out of school. He had gotten fat, eating compulsively. Now he is thinner and different, still thoughtful, though. When he tells her of his dream of killing Hitler, Mick looks at him closely and feels sad for him. Suddenly, she calls out a ritual insult, of the kind the kids always use to start a wrestling match, and runs. Harry pauses for a moment, then begins chasing her. They wrestle for a while and then suddenly something changes and they go still. Mick feels funny. They laugh and break away from each other.
When Mick gets inside the kitchen she exclaims over how hot it is. Portia is cooking and when Mick eats, she doesnít feel satisfied. She tries to sit still to study for her English test, but she canít. She feels like some kind of a giant who needs to march around knowing the walls of the house down. Finally, she gets her private box out and starts working on her music again. She wishes again for a piano and music lessons.