Dawn Corrigan was born in New York City. Nineteen months later, her mother mysteriously disappeared, returning a few days later with a suspicious bundle in her arms.
Thus began an era of loss. First, Dawn was banished from her beloved crib. In the spot where it had stood, there was, instead, a small bed. It had a simple wooden headboard and footboard, painted white, and one side rail. Her mother tried to con her into the idea this was an upgrade, making the whole “Big Girl Bed” speech so many times she could have recited it by heart if she wanted.
Dawn didn’t buy it. She missed the crib’s encompassing rails, and its firm surface. On the bed, every night she dreamed of falling. When she awoke, gasping for breath, she could see the stickers pasted to the footboard: a clown with a horrible white mouth, a cluster of tumescent balloons.
Next, she lost her beautiful red tricycle, long before their love affair was over. Her mother covered its shiny red paint with a flat red, white, and blue—and not navy blue, either, but a baby blue that screamed “Wrong!” every time Dawn looked at it. In the trike’s place she received a tiny green two-wheeler with training wheels. It was a sporty ride, but she wasn’t ready to try something so athletic yet.
Finally, she lost her status as a New Yorker. Though they lived in Queens, Dawn had been born at New York Hospital on East 68th Street, and considered herself a Manhattanite. But when she was three years old, and the bundle almost two, their parents packed them up and moved them out of the five boroughs altogether.
As far as Dawn was concerned, that was the biggest loss of all.