Polly couldn't go to school with us for a few
weeks after Halloween. Every day it was dark and cloudy
when we walked past her house. Her mother would peek
out the shop window and shake her head.
“She's no good today. My girl might be better
It was lonely without her. Janey and I used to try
and name the colors in Polly's skirt while we walked
“Burnt sienna, lemon drop yellow, aquamarine,
candy apple red.”
We wore the only dresses we had, our blue plaid
jumpers from Catholic school. We didn't wear any
jewelry like Polly. Our arms and fingers were bare. When
we walked, it was quiet. Polly used to wear little boots
that clicked on the sidewalk. My sister and I wore flat
shoes that made no noise. George dressed in black pants
and a white shirt. Grandma polished his shoes each
morning before he got up. There was no color to George;
pale skin, black eyes and shiny black hair. He was steady.
We were comforted to see him always the same. Every
morning, we ran up to his porch, and he'd come out to
meet us, saying the same thing.
“Polly is better?”
“No, George, not today. Maybe tomorrow.”
George would then ask how to spell the word
He'd repeat the word until it didn't sound funny,
yet he'd keep asking the same question.
“When is tomorrow?”
“That's when everything will always be better. It's
the very best day.”
The three of us kept going without Polly. We
walked ahead, always talking about tomorrow.
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