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She picked blackberries by the hat-full until her fingertips were stained purple. Back home, she offered the lot to her brother, laying curled away from her on the cot. When he ignored her, she placed four berries near his chest and sat alone at the table. She was grateful; the meal put to shame their usual salted toast and potatoes. Then she sang herself the birthday song, and devoured the fruit. For that moment, she was happy.

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