Esmeralda turns away, glancing up and down the evening street. Maxzyne thinks of all the families out there, in their houses and apartments, eating their dinners and getting ready for bed. Families in all shapes, sizes, and conditions. And somewhere out there is Esmeralda’s son.
“Think he misses his mama?” Esmeralda asks, turning back. “No.” She answers her own question. “Probably not. He doesn’t even remember.”
Tears spring to Maxzyne’s eyes. What can she say when her own mother must be going crazy with worry? Esmeralda gets up suddenly, rising to smash a plastic cup abandoned on the sidewalk.
“Too many folks use these cups for begging,” she mutters. “Just because you’re down, living on the street, doesn’t mean you just get a handout. Sure, some people have hard times, but begging? Kills your pride, that’s what. Me? I sell my paintings. Nobody can say Esmeralda doesn’t earn her keep! And when I get paid, I don’t mind sharing. Even with the pigeons,” she exclaims, flinging her arms out wide and scaring two perched on a nearby lamp post. She points at Maxzyne, her voice serious.
“But, girl, you’ve got a home. Makes no sense you growing up fast like me. You take your time; let the years come to you. They’ll find you, those years will. Oh, yes . . . they’ll find you . . .”
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