The nurses and doctors kept asking me questions: How did you get burned? Have your parents ever hurt you? Why do you have all these bruises and cuts? My parents never hurt me, I said. I got the cuts and bruises from playing outside and the burns from cooking hot dogs. They asked what I was doing cooking hot dogs by myself at the age of three. It was easy, I said. You put the hot dogs in the water and boil them. It wasn’t like there was some complicated recipe that you had to be old enough to follow. The pan was too heavy for me to lift when it was full of water, so I’d put a chair next to the sink, climb up and fill a glass, then stand on a chair by the stove and pour the water into the pan. I did that over and over again until the pan held enough water. Then I’d turn on the stove, and when the water was boiling, I’d drop in the hot dogs. “Mom says I’m mature for my age,” I told them, “and she lets me cook for myself alot.”
Two nurses looked at each other, and one of them wrote something down on a clipboard. I asked what was wrong. Nothing, they said. nothing.
—The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls