Study Guide

The Orange Houses Chapter 16

By Paul Griffin

Chapter 16

TAMIKA

  • In the apartment bathroom, seventeen days before the hanging, Mik is humming.
  • Her mom tells her to be careful—people might think she's happy if she's humming all the time.
  • They're dressed up and off to church. Mik tells us she only goes to church because otherwise NaNa gives her a hard time about being possessed by demons.
  • On their way home, they see Jimmi sitting outside Joe's place—there's police tape all around, and they're not sure what's happening.
  • Jimmi fills them in: Joe died last night with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
  • Mik starts screaming and has to tell herself to stop. Her mom tells her to breathe.
  • The next day, she goes to the doctor to find out about the surgery, and learns that there's an experimental implant she could try, though there are no promises.
  • If it does work, it will cut down on her ear infections, be more comfortable, and help her hear better.
  • But here's the catch: She can't turn it off.
  • Mik's not sure she wants something that she has to leave on all the time, and she likes the option of turning her hearing aids off once in a while (or, um, every day).
  • When she tells Fatima about it that evening, she tries to explain that sometimes it's too much to hear everything.
  • They turn on the radio to listen to some music. Mik enjoys the sound, but slowly it starts to fade. She realizes her hearing aid batteries are dying.