They were walking across the backyard, past the two-tread concrete step by the back door on their way to the side of the house. The child looked about eight. Her hair wasn’t combed, and it looked unkempt. Its frizzy tightly coiled curls were saharan dry and almost rust in colour, but the child herself did not appear unkempt otherwise. The woman who walked beside her did not converse, though she occasionally shot stern glances at the girl who seemed strangely simultaneously scared and oblivious. Her brown shorts were too tight; her blue tee-shirt clingy, but they were clean. Her open-toe flip flops emphasized the smallness of her feet while also drawing attention to her stringy frame.
The woman looked pristine in her tailored suit and heels. Her large breasts seemed to plead for space as they attempted to peep through the six buttons which tightened the jacket closed. It was a vibrant pink skirt suit, fuchsia, it’s called, coordinated with black stilettos, pointed and enclosed across the front. Every relaxed curl was in place as part of her newly coiffed hairstyle, which featured low sides and back and perfectly placed short hot ironed curls along the top. The watch she wore appeared to be a designer brand, as did the brown leather tote bag she so expertly carried over her wrist.
But now the child is distracted. Her gaze is fixed on something. Oblivious to the impatient woman’s calls, she appears transfixed. She is suddenly transported as if by some supernatural force towards the wonderment of her gaze. By now the woman is steps ahead, hysterically screaming, spewing curses and threats, but the child does not hear them. The woman walks backwards.
“What the hell are you doing girl?” This was followed by a slap across the face, stinging the girl back into current reality.
“It’s that dress…”
“What about it, girl?” The woman smirks.
“Why is it out here, hanging on the clothesline like that?”
“Like what, silly girl? Just get into the car. NOW!”
“But it shouldn’t be there like that…it just shouldn’t be.”
“Ok, so what are you going to do about it? Take it down? Is that what you’ll do?”
The girl motions forward. There’s a swift slap across her hand.
“You touch that dress and I swear I’ll break that arm like I did the other…remember that?”
“Yes ma’am, but…but…it can’t stay there”.…She trails off.
“It’ll be ruined or stolen”.
“Well then you go ahead. You take it down…go ahead,” she snarls.
The girl’s eyes dart from the dress to the woman and back repeatedly. She cannot move.