Sunday, October 5, 2008

the gift

Jacob came home from work late yesterday. He left the government offices in time to get home early. It was just that when he got to his car he found Annie May huddled in the gutter hiding next to the car.

"I knew it was you". she said. "You will take me back to the red house".

Jacob said she then looked him fiercely in the eye, and sort of chocking with emotion and rage the way small children sometimes do she said "Its no life I tell you". Pushing her thin reddish hair out of her face she repeated the phrase again and again.

"Its no life".

Jacob just let her into the back seat of his car and handed her one of Zoe's hoodie sweatshirts. "put this on" he said "It will help". Later on he told me that she was shaking still as she scrambled into the car seat and pulled over the sweatshirt. Obviously she was used to taking care of herself.

It seemed dramatically late when he got in because the light is changing very fast this part of the cycle. Some how just as the light begins to fade the work load begins to be doubled. Often we have cloudy days which means we have to switch from lenses to Babington burners. Some of our parts are waiting on delivery from the laser fabricators in Arcata.

By the time Annie May got to me she had fallen asleep in the car already and was barely blinking awake. She had a very determined air for a very small child as she crawled down out of her car seat to talk to me. We were all actually down at the red house, since Annie May had been away up to Eureka the last week she had to go through quarantine all over again before she could come up to the glass shop.

"Annie May" I said, sounding a little more stern than I meant to, "please can you tell me what happened?"

She swallowed hard, and brushed her hair away from her forehead again. "We found my Mom and she was in the Bo squats".she looked at me now with her intense greyish blue eyes. "Its NO life". she said. "We got to her camp and in one night they were gone and wanted to take me up to the juke joint road." Annie May knew that I knew about the juke joint road because I had casually mentioned it to her before she left with Kurt.

I sighed. Unsure of what to beleive or what to do.

"Its NO LIFE I tell you" she said."She started tricking right away and Kurt got mean." It was scary to think of such a small child fending for herself night after night in the Hobo flats. Annie May then sounded childish for a moment, almost. "I remembered where Jacob had his car and I went up and found it." she was very matter of fact "Kurt doesn't think I am his, so he took off".

You are right Annie May it is no life to sit out in the Bo squats waiting to have to go walk or ride the juke joint trail.

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