Study Guide

The Orange Houses Chapter 9

By Paul Griffin

Chapter 9

TAMIKA

  • In Mik's room, days before the hanging, she sketches the city skyline. She drifts off to sleep picturing herself soaring over the Bronx.
  • She wakes up in a panic, seeing a bombed sky with her paper angel on fire. Scared, she goes to her mom's room, but that makes her feel sad; it smells like stale donuts in there from the donut shop her mom works at.
  • Then she goes to the living room, but finds NaNa conked out there.
  • The next morning, her mom asks her if she finished her homework, and she says yes, though actually, she was doing someone else's homework.
  • She asks her mom why she always makes an effort to look nice when no one notices her.
  • On the way to school, she sees the papergirl and says hello—Mik wants to ask her over for dinner, but she's too nervous.
  • She chooses the very last row in English class, and then—click—her hearing aids are off and she's dead to the world.
  • After speech therapy class, the girls all hang around the new boy Jaekwon. One girl, Shanelle, hates when Mik arrives and makes fun of her.
  • Jaekwon walks up to Mik and helps her with her books; meanwhile, Shanelle flips Mik off before heading into class.
  • At work, Joe offers to pay for Mik's surgery for her. He thinks she's a good kid, and he's got none of his own, so how about he shells out the dough for the operation?
  • She's not sure what to say, but she knows she can't accept.
  • On the way to school the next day, Mik sees Shanelle and pretends not to hear her taunts. Shanelle yells out that Mik better stay away from Jaekwon if she knows what's good for her. Gulp.
  • After school, Mik goes to the place where the papergirl usually is. She's about to leave when she catches a glimpse of her friend off in the corner of her eye.
  • She follows her until she eventually winds up at Fatima's home. Fatima is surprised to see her, but offers to walk Mik home so she doesn't get lost.
  • She tells Mik that some kids were hit by bombs back at home—that's how she learned sign language, though she left before she could learn more.
  • Mik invites her over for dinner and Fatima offers to buy cake. When Fatima asks which room they live in, she's surprised to learn they have the whole apartment to themselves.