When my mother’s third husband took me thirty years ago to see his daughter from his first marriage smash the cymbals with the high-school marching band, he told me to be nice afterward because she was “slow,” which is not the same as retarded, he explained, though I doubted the difference as soon as the people in the bleachers all around us began to point and laugh at the obese girl who turned the wrong way and wandered toward the goal posts, banging the cymbals at her whim, then ran to rejoin the drum line, completing circles at right angles, forming figure eights at intersections, bumping oboe players; one time falling down. She twice tried suicide that year. She was smart enough to know she would never feel at home in a country overcrowded with parade critics. My stepfather told her in the car that night that all her miscues had been minor, barely noticeable, even, while I covered my mouth to keep from laughing. I haven’t seen either of them for twenty-five years. I made a shambles of my first marriage. I’ve stumbled, repeatedly, over the first of twelve steps. I want to be a better person. Only now, from every side of me all at once, do I hear the music she was marching to.