Dalia had known for some time that Rachel had gone to school with Melinda Jessup-- in fact, the very same Amelia T. Waters that Dalia now attended with the Jessup children, along with three hundred other kids who lived in the middle of nowhere. Rachel had once told Dalia that while she used to dream of moving far away from their no-stoplight town, Melinda had never had the slightest desire to live anywhere else.
"You aren't gonna make the same mistakes I did," Rachel said on more than one occasion. "You gonna make good grades, get into Harvard or wherever, and get out of here. Go live somewhere where people can appreciate how beautiful you are."
Dalia never questioned her mother's vision. After all, she had been brought up to be very particular about herself-- her grades, her clothes, her hair and make-up. Rachel struggled to hold down a job, but whatever money she had leftover after paying the bills went straight to Dalia. There was nothing that Rachel's mother could say or do to prevent Rachel from buying her daughter pricey tennis shoes and the latest smartphone.
"My kid goes to school with a bunch of rich girls in her class who have all that stuff," Rachel said to Dalia's grandmother one afternoon. "It's not Dalia's fault that I screwed up. I don't want her feeling like anybody's better than her, just because they have money. Dalia's got to learn that she deserves the best."
"Rachel, that's ridiculous," Dalia's grandmother argued. "What Dalia needs to learn is how to be responsible and not to mix up what she wants with what she needs."
"Yeah, that's what you and Dad were always trying to teach me, and look how well that turned out."