Inside Out

Excitement filled the little girl’s being. Summer days were finished, and school would begin in two days. There were no new clothes for school, but the little girl didn’t mind. She could make do with the few items of clothing hanging in her closet. But she did need money for her precious school books in the rural, impoverished South where her family lived. Something was wrong; there were hushed conversations in worried tones between her parents. The little girl’s father had returned from a trip to the big city without the family auto. There had been an accident. A return trip to the big city to settle the accident was planned. If there was money after the settlement, then school books could be purchased. On the following day, the little girl’s anxious eyes stared at the dusty driveway all day. At dusk, the father returned in a dilapidated auto quite similar to the missing one. Running to greet the father, the little girl asked the dreaded question.  With his hands, the father turned both his pockets inside out. Despair overwhelmed the little girl. Her parents could offer no solution or consolation. She retreated to a place of isolation and hiding outside the house. She rehearsed over and over telling the teacher she could not buy books. She imagined sitting at her desk without books while her classmates recited from their books and answered the teacher’s questions. Then the flood of tears started as her feelings of fear, embarrassment and hopelessness magnified.  Would the teacher allow her to stay in school or would she be sent home in shame while the other students stared? She wondered how she could learn without books and school. Her grandmother who lived in a converted barn on the property and who survived on a sorrowful monthly government check found the little girl crying quietly. Since the grandmother had not ever communicated or shown any affection, the little girl was not surprised when the grandmother silently turned and went into the little girl’s house. After a few moments, the little girl once again felt the grandmother’s towering stature over her with these spoken words, “Stop your crying, you’ll have your school books.” And the angel walked away.

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Sherry Turner
Legal Administrator
Age 67
Naples, Florida, United States of America

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