I’m sitting at the counter, drawing on a piece of paper
a smiling sun and a flower
“guess what, I’m really happy”
I finish dotting a beeline behind my also smily bumblebee
I’m smiling .
I look at the little girl sitting next to me
she is smiling too.
I’m looking at her, but she’s looking at my drawing.
I think she really likes the sun, the flowers, and the bee on my paper.
I like them too.
“What else should I draw?”, I ask her.
Though she knows my birds really all resemble balls with stick legs,
and that I draw dogs and cats with stumpy, chubby peg legs \/\/
Delighted, she responds, “whatever you want”.
So I gave her the world on that piece of paper.
I used to look at the girl with pity,
in the beginning, it was hard to look at her at all
whenever she would try to peer into my face, I would turn the other way, never looking at her, sometimes leaving the room or ignoring her completely if it wasn’t just us two.
she looked neglected. you could see a lot of hurt in her eyes and I preferred to spare myself the embarrassment of knowing and not being able to do anything about it.
it reminds me on that feeling of walking past an indigenous woman with a baby strapped on her back or cradled to her chest,
asking for change,
and I would suppose that this was the same way that people felt when they saw my boyfriend hit me black and blue,
and then now I felt it again with this girl.
I cannot live here and feel this way every day in my own home.
I started looking at her face,
really listening to her,
bathing her, feeding her, playing and reading to her, making sure she went to bed early every day.
This was about 20-15 years ago.
I don’t live there anymore, but the other day I saw her and she told me that she’s in medical school now,
that she’s lives on her own,
thats she’s engaged and her fiancé bought her a E-Class Mercedes last week for her 25th birthday
I noticed that it was really easy to look at her face and that her hair was very long.
The first time I ever looked at her she told me that she had no dad, never saw her mom, her stepdad kept her head shaved and she didn’t know how to use her hands and feet.
I am so happy that she is better off now and far away from there too.