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I watched her walk down the hall toward her bedroom, her right heel falling short of the hardwood floor, each step jostling her little frame to the left in an exaggerated sway, the next step shooting her spine straight and vertical, and then falling to the sway again as the pattern of her gait repeated. She disappeared through the door. I’d asked her to go change her clothes, wondering if she would or not. She often protested, leaving me to wonder if she might be looking for my help just to get a few extra moments with mom.
I turned back to the mirror to finish curling my hair while listening to the morning news. The nation’s capital building had been breached a few days before, and I couldn’t help but search for encouraging words, a glimmer of hope, a ray of light. My uncertainties about almost everything had escalated, and now given all the rumors about bad things happening, even my phone seemed like a sudden stranger, and a new mystery. I felt the energy of a struggling hope begin to wane. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw that she had returned.
She was there, standing still and waiting for me to turn and inspect her ensemble. I did, noting the much-improved coordination of colors between her chartreuse t-shirt and a more muted collage of greens on her leggings. She waited for my smile of approval, which I gladly offered, and then she nodded downward toward her new shoes, a pair of black suede Ugg ankle boots. They were on the wrong feet. I’d told her yesterday that the zipper goes on the inside, but she hadn’t quite caught on. Or maybe she had and was only making things work. She’s good at making things work.