I walk back from the orchard of stunted peach trees, dropping the over-ripe and bruised fruits for the hens who follow at my feet, keeping only the best fruits for us. I don't believe her. The wind laughs through the rocks that crown Qomolangma as I make my way back to the hut that is the only home I've ever known. The wind doesn't believe her, either.

Today, father left for the shore, to help the men build a boat to carry me and my cousins and friends, the daughters of the children who found safety here, to Kangchenjunga. The men believe that more humans live there. They only care because Father's father was a geneticist before the floods washed the world away. He says that otherwise our children, or our children's children, will be born twisted and stupid.

A boy throws a rock at me and misses. Instead, he damages more fruit. I think Grandfather was wrong about how long it would take for our children to become stupid.

My cousins and my friends are excited. When they are not working in the orchards or taking care of animals and chickens, they braid each others' hair and dream of the beautiful boys who will fight for their hand when we land on Kangchenjunga. All but my friend, Karishma.

When I arrive, I find my little sister sitting in my mother's lap, holding a tiny tooth that has finally fallen out. My mother tells me she tripped and knocked it out, and asks me to help her bury it safely then wash the tear stains from her face. I take her hand and lead her carefully over the smoothest paths. Our baby brother follows, and I pick him up halfway there, so that he won't make her drop her precious burden.

We pick a place by the women's bathing hole and find a sturdy stick. I set my brother down and he helps me carry dripping handfuls of water back and forth until the ground is soft enough to work in, then dig a deep, deep hole. My sister drops the tooth in and our brother helps us stomp the mud back down over it.

The three of us hold hands and dance back through the scrub and the rocks, joyful now that we know our sister's tooth will grow back.

Later that night, I make my way to the tiny shelter I built with Karishma before our fathers decided to send us away over the water. We talk about the little things and braid each others' hair and roll our eyes over the boys who will think to win our hands. Later, she holds me in her arms while I trace dragons and hearts upon them. We know our fathers will make us take husbands. Grandfather says the human race can't afford young women who will not bear children, now. Tomorrow, or next week, or next month, our fathers will return for us and we will go with them meekly and do as they say. Tonight, we pretend Grandfather is wrong. Tonight, we pretend that we will laugh in the boys' faces and run away and be lovers forever.

Tonight, we pretend that we are still young and that we are just girls and that is enough.