Karen was nine years old, small, dark, and nearsighted. She has no friends and lives with her brother and sister-in-law.
Her brother was twenty years older than her, and his eyes were set very close together, and his face was very sad. No one in his family is good-looking.
My sister-in-law used to be beautiful, but she's getting fat. When she puts on a bikini, she looks like a wrestler. Karen wanted a bikini very much, but her sister-in-law refused to buy her one. Karen often thought that if she had a yellow bikini, she would not be afraid of the water at the beach. One day when Karen was seven, her parents went out shopping and they never came back. My sister-in-law said that because someone robbed the bank, the man opened fire like a madman and shot my parents to death.
Karen knew she had to say goodbye to her parents before they went shopping. She said goodbye to her mother slowly and clearly, and then to her father, but no one noticed anything at the time. But later the brother remembered and said to his sister-in-law, "My little sister said goodbye to her parents as if she knew something was going to happen."
My sister-in-law said, "Oh my God, how could she know! Don't talk nonsense." 'she said thoughtfully, after a pause.' But I suppose we'll be responsible for everything she does from now on. '
My sister-in-law looked very unhappy when she said this.
One night after moving in with her brother and sister-in-law, Karen knew she had to say goodbye to his brother. He was playing cards in the living room with his brother and his wife. Her sister-in-law looked up and saw Karen coming. "Karen," she said, "Can't you go to bed yourself?" Karen, who did not seem to hear her sister-in-law, went straight up to her brother and stood upright with her hands in front of her, just as Miss John had taught her to stand at school when the hymn was to be sung.
She said good-bye slowly and clearly to Dick, her sister's brother, and there was a strange look on her face.
Dick did not look up, but still played his cards, and said, "Good night, little man."
The next night, before Karen saw him again, he had died of an acute illness called peritonitis.
"Did you hear how she said goodbye to Dick last night?"
"I told you he was a queer little fellow. Her weirdness scares me. I wonder who she's going to say goodbye to next." My brother's asthma has returned.
Her sister-in-law comforted her brother and said, "All right, honey, all right, just be quiet."
Just then Karen came out of the back door, where she had been hiding to listen. She said, "Don't worry, brother, you're all right."
Her brother had goose bumps on his face and his lips turned blue. He whispered to Karen. "How do you know?"
What a stupid question, Karen thought, as if I would tell him if I knew.
She leaned so close to Karen's face that she could smell the smoke, alcohol and garlic she was spitting out. His sister-in-law frowned and said gravely, "Don't say goodbye to anyone again! Don't say another word!"
The problem is, Karen can't help but say.
After that, things went well for a while. Karen thought that maybe her brother and sister-in-law had forgotten everything, but her sister-in-law still refused to buy her a bikini.
Then, one day at school, Karen knew she had to say "goodbye" to her classmates, Barry, Emma, SUSIE, and Liz. Karen clapped her hands together and said goodbye to them slowly and clearly.
"My God, Karen, why all this gravitas?" asked Miss John in surprise.
Karen said, "Well, you see, they're going to die."
"Karen, you are a cruel and strange child. You shouldn't say such things. You see, you've hurt SUSIE, and it's not fun to watch her cry." Then Mr. John said to SUSIE, "Get in the car. You'll be home soon. You'll be safe when you get home."
So, drying her tears, SUSIE ran after Barry, Emma, and Liz into the car and sat next to Emma's mother, whose turn it was to drive the children that week.
That was the last time Karen saw them. As the car was driving along the mountain road, it skidded off the side of the road and rolled into the valley below, exploding and burning.
There was no class the next day, and everyone went to the funeral, singing songs for them and throwing words on the graves.
No one likes standing next to Karen.
After the funeral, Miss John came to see his sister-in-law.
In the drawing room, Karen said to her teacher, "Good night." The teacher answered, but did not look at Karen, who was breathing very fast. Her sister-in-law said to Karen, "Well, go upstairs and do your homework." Get Karen out of here.
When Miss John left, her sister-in-law called Karen in. "Didn't I tell you? Never ever say 'goodbye' to anyone again!"
She held Karen tight, her eyes burning with anger. She twisted Karen's arm painfully. Karen screamed, "Don't let me, please, don't let me."
But she kept twisting, and she kept twisting. So Karen said, "If you don't let go, I'm going to say goodbye to my brother."
It was the only way Karen could think of getting her to stop.
She stopped twisting Karen's arm at once, but did not let go. She said, "Oh, my God, you mean you can make people die."
Well, Karen couldn't, of course, but she didn't tell her sister-in-law, for fear she'd hurt herself again, so Karen said, "Yes, I can."
Her sister-in-law let go of Karen and she fell to the ground.
"Are you all right? Did I hurt you? Karen." "Asked his sister-in-law eagerly.
Karen rubbed her aching arm and said, "Yes, it does. You'd better not be so rough with me again."
The sister-in-law said, "I just wanted to play a joke with you. I didn't mean it."
Then Karen knew that her sister-in-law was afraid of her.
Karen said, "I want a yellow bikini, because I like yellow."
My sister-in-law said, "Karen, you know, we have to economize."
"Do you want me to say goodbye to my brother?" Karen sidled her eyes to observe her sister-in-law's reaction.
The sister-in-law leaned against the wall, closed her eyes, and stood still for a moment. Karen asked, "What are you doing?"
"I'm thinking about it," said his sister-in-law.
Then my sister-in-law suddenly opened her eyes and said with a smile, "Shall we go to the beach tomorrow? We'll take our lunch."
"You mean I can buy a new bikini?"
"Yes, whatever you want," said his sister-in-law.
So that afternoon they went out and bought a yellow bikini. The next morning, my sister-in-law made a lot of picnic food in the kitchen: fried chicken, salad, chocolate cake and round candies. "Karen, is that enough?" she asked.
"It's great," Karen said. "Now I have a bikini. I'm not afraid of the waves."
Her sister-in-law laughed and lifted the lunch basket to the car. She has a strong, powerful hand. "Yes," she said, "I don't think you're afraid of the waves anymore."
Then Karen went upstairs to her bedroom and put on her new bikini. It fitted perfectly. She walked up to the mirror and turned around triumphantly, looking from side to side. Then, with a strange feeling in her heart, she put her palms together in a solemn way and said slowly and clearly to the man in the mirror: "Goodbye, Karen, goodbye, Karen, goodbye! Good-bye!"