Outside Looking In
“Mama, who lives there,” asked a little voice. Sasha peered through the gates while her mother re-packed their bag.
Angela paused, her back smarting as she straightened it to follow the girl’s gaze. She had stopped to reposition their belongings under a heavily leafed tree on the sidewalk by the White House North Lawn. An early morning rousing had sent them scurrying from Lafayette Square.
“The President lives there, baby, with his family. Now c’mone, let’s go. You need to get to school in time for breakfast.”
“Are they like our neighbors, Mama?”
Angela smiled slightly. “I guess so, baby.” She returned to repacking the bag.
“Mama, look! There’s a girl and a dog! Do you think she’ll take him to the park like Mrs. Morris and Roscoe?”
Angela stopped her packing again and looked down at the hopeful look on her daughter’s face. One calloused hand reached out to stroke the girl’s hair. “Maybe another day, baby. Let’s go now. What’s test is today?”
“Spelling,” Sasha reluctantly released the fence and followed Angela down the street, glancing again at the girl across the lush green lawn, who was now staring back. She raised her hand in a slight wave before turning to trot after her mother.
Inside Looking Out
“Daddy, who is that girl is over there?”
The President lowered his newspaper as daughter gestured out the tinted window at a woman and girl in worn clothes by the northeast gates. He frowned. “Just a homeless girl, sweetie. Not to worry, she can’t hurt us.” He flipped the paper back up and resumed reading.
“She looks like she’s about Mel’s age. Why do you think she’s homeless?”
The President closed the paper, folded it onto his lap, and followed her gaze. “Sometimes people make bad choices and get into trouble. Or sometimes events happen you can’t control and you lose things, like your car or house.”
“Do you think she needs our help?”
He glanced down at his daughter, her brown eyes still fixated on the pair outside the gates.
“Now, Sash, we have programs to help girls like that. One of the things we work on every day is improving opportunities for people who need help. Let me work on that. You focus on preparing for school and that spelling test.”
Sasha watched the girl as she stared through the fence at her sister and dog, playing on the front lawn. The girl gave a slight wave to Melanie before running after the woman and out of sight.
**NOTE** Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time, which means we’ve changed clocks for Daylight Savings. **
WELCOME!! What a fabulous week it’s been — if you didn’t catch superfreelancer Carol Tice‘s interview, chock-full of meaty publishing/marketing advice, be sure to do so (here)!!! — and I’m still rolling in laughter at #WarmupWednesday’s crazy genre mixup (for which, ahem, I wrote a poem, which may or may not have behaved itself). Y’all prove over and over again your master ability to stick your writerly tongues out at whatever challenge you’re given, and triumph over it. Here’s to doing so all over again today!
DRUM ROLL: Visiting us in our next Tuesday #Spotlightinterview is clever and hilarious Jeff Gerke, who is beloved for lots of things, not the least of which includes several books for Writer’s Digest (take Plot vs Character or The First Fifty Pages for starters)…
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