She’s tiny, maybe three years old. She wears a dress. It’s black and rose pink. It hangs loosely on her little figure. Down the back is red thread attempting to function as a zipper that once-upon-a-time fastened it together. But the thread, too, is wearing thin. Each stitch is less fixed than the one before and gives up before it reaches the top. One side of the dress slips off her tiny frame, leaving her back and right shoulder bare/exposed.
She twirls. Soft, loose, brown curls surround her ears, bouncing with every barefoot step she takes. She bounds from chair to chair, climbing on and quickly off again. She curiously, yet fearlessly, comes near me. She touches my arm and looks up at me. I smile. Her big brown eyes are fixed on me. We sit together. She turns the pages in my book, studying the pieces that mark it. She’s eating a crumbly rice treat. Morsels sprinkle her little cheeks. She goes for seconds, and thirds. She discovers a pair of sandals lying at the doorway. She puts them on and flip-flops about.
I don’t hear her voice. She doesn’t say a word. She just twirls, while the tired dress tries to keep up.