After the classroom workshop, the little brown girl escorted me to the front door where my car patiently waited outside in the school parking lot. Her teacher didn’t want me to get lost and the little girl desired a few more minutes with me. I guess she thought I might have some poignant parting words to place inside her heart. Minutes earlier she had read her elegant poem about losing her grandmother. It was sophisticated for a fourth grader: we held hands to keep from being sucked back into the stars. Tears tracked her cheeks as she read the breath-halting words and now we are taking the stairs, grieving girl and big lady holding tight to a mushy knot of kleenex. We make it to the main office. She turns to me, lifts her smoothe face up to mine. I tell her her poem was beautiful. I tell her her grandmother is not dead. I say she is looking out for you, over you, watching. I say these things because I want to make her feel better. I want her little eyes to dry so she can find her way to the swings and the glee of flight, her pink barrettes losing battle with the wind. I lied, right? I don’t know anything about where her grandmother might be and whether she’s looking out for her. I don’t even know if I made her feel any better. She might’ve traipsed back to class, giggling all the way about how silly grown folks are especially the ones who believe in fairy tales about dead people and their after life activities. But I do believe she smiled at me before turning to leave. I think I made her feel a tiny bit better if only for a tenth of a second. Perhaps right now that little girl’s tucked safely in her bed dreaming of her grandmother. They are holding hands resisting the pull of the stars. Grandmama will forever look down on her from the edge of the moon. She is smiling.
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