I discovered a little playground. Preschoolers were running around. They were maybe 3, 4 or 5. I’m a white cracker: haggard, bedraggled, red-eyed, neurotic, irritated today due to anxiety—irritated more than usual, and some of it real. I visualized a minor news article: Bum found dead on the street, frothing at the mouth. At least I had I.D., so they could identify me.
All the little children were dark—African-American, some Hispanics, Indian children from India.
Unbothered by the hot temperature, they were scampering and shouting and squiggling, running, jumping.
Then, out of heaven it seemed, burst one beautiful little girl with eyes shining like stars, a smile beaming a laser through the bars of my inner prison temporarily.
“Hey, Mister, look at my picture!” she says as she waves it. It’s a beautiful crayon-colored drawing of a small animal, like a dog. She writes her name big. SHERI.
I notice all this through the playground chain-link fence.
Approaching slowly, I say, “It’s very pretty.” Sheri’s friend runs over, pulls at her blouse sleeve.
“Sheri, is that your daddy?”