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Xiao

She loves her name. Most people don’t pronounce it right at first, but she enjoys correcting them, so that works out well. She loves the way her boyfriends say it; she can’t help but laugh when her mother yells it in anger.

She has a particular memory of a vacation, when she was young, and standing out on a dock somewhere in Florida. They were setting off fireworks across the river; some of them hurt her ears, but she really liked the ones that trailed noise on the way up. She thought they were talking to her. Boom, pop, crackle, Xiao!

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