The little girl has her head tilted to the side. I think she listens out of habit. Even if there was nothing but silence, her head will always have the tilt of an inquisitive listener. Her hair is neatly done up in braids, and her uniform is perfectly white and uncreased. Her white socks and bata shoes are equally pristine. She is sitting on the concrete steps with her hands in her lap as she watches the other little girls playing hopscotch and jumping rope. From time to time she watches the black crows swooping down in front of her, and pecking at the ground.
She is startled when one of her schoolmates runs up to her and tugs her hand. She wants the little girl to join them in their game of hopscotch. The little girl shyly shakes her head no, and the other girl pouts, sticks her tongue out, and runs off. The little girl is relieved. She is too afraid to jump rope, or to dangle from the monkey bars. The extremity of her shyness immobilizes her, and she is too young to know that fear is surmountable. For now she watches the others. She waits for the bell to ring, and she gazes for as long as she can at the shifting sky before the sunlight becomes intolerable.