Jaymie was only six years old last February.
But she thought about being grown up a lot. When she watched Grandma, she thought being grown up was lots of aching and forgetting what happened last night. When she hugged Mama she thought being grown up was being trembly and staring blankly into nowhere in particular. When she listened to Auntie, who wasn’t even all the way grown up yet, she thought it was when your voice gets hard. When Roger came and she squeezed behind the stained brown sofa so that he wouldn’t notice her she thought being grown up was having greasy hands and slurry words. And when there were too many grownups and there was loud hollow laughter and shouting and crashes, she pulled her closet door tightly shut, and crawled back, back, back until her stiff little back pressed against the back wall. Then she shivered in the dark and tried not to listen. Times like that she didn’t ever want to grow up. Times like that she squeezed her eyes shut and thought about what it would be like to fall asleep and never wake up again. And before the swearing dissolved into sobs she would be asleep. When she opened her eyes again and uncurled to the morning, the grownups would still be asleep. Cracking the screen door just enough for her lithe body to slip through, she let it thump gently and sat on the step. Sometimes she traced letters in the dirt, sometimes pictures, and sometimes she sat motionless, staring.
“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
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