Little World, a novel

Little World is my new work-in-progress about family and relationships from a young woman's view.  Eve is growing up in rural West Virginia, largely on her own. A series of events send her on a journey of discovery, adulthood, and love.

Chapter 21 - excerpt

"Thank you, Baker. Today was magical." Eve kissed his cheek as they stepped from the merry-go-round to walk to the Metro station. She didn’t flinch when he reached for her hand, enjoying his touch. Eve slept on the short ride back, her head on his shoulder. The two exited at King Street, following the throng of commuters onto the brick-lined street.

The flash of colour from the woman's sun-dress made Eve smile. The dress the girl wore was the same faded pink she’d worn only hours before. Baker saw her too, nodding towards the painting come-to-life beside them in the crush from the metro, visible one second, gone the next. Eve and the woman were almost the same height, skin colour, even hairstyle. She held a Starbucks cup like many of the commuters. Eve noticed a slight tremor as she put her foot down in worn sneakers that didn’t match her dress.  She almost stumbled, one foot dragged a little. Oddly, she had little muscle tone in her legs and the pattern on her dress seemed strange.  Eve realized in the blink of an eye that the faint patterns were stains, filth and dirt on her skin and the fabric, a dress slept in on a bench, in a box, the back of a car. Her arms and legs were smeared with something the colour of foundation. She had bruises. Their eyes met, hers glassed over, her pupils dilated. She looked through Eve, thrusting out her cup. It jangled with change. 

"Oh, fuck me,” Eve mumbled as she grabbed Baker.  “How much do you have on you?" She pulled her tip money from her pocket. Baker started to protest. "Shut up. Don’t say anything. What do you have?" He handed her a twenty from a now empty wallet. Eve ran to catch the girl, dodging commuters.  She stuffed sixty-dollars in the cup. A smile slid across the girl’s face in a practised way, her eyes shut with a flutter of her lids.

"Thanks. That’s kind of you." She moved on with the crowd in an instant, the transaction complete.  Only a few of the hurrying strangers noticed the exchange. The girl disappeared in the throng, once again invisible. 

 Baker and Eve walked in silence to Eve's apartment. She wiped her eyes several times on the way there amid sniffles. The two paused outside.

"I know what you're thinking.  She'll use the money to get high, but I don't care. That was me not so long ago, not the drugs but the homelessness. That could be me now. She'll know someone cared about her tonight. Maybe it will help a little."

"But she's not you, Eve. By God's grace, it's not you. We're lucky to have found each other. You made me see you and I'm glad you made me see her. It's not always easy to see someone in need.  I know I didn’t look at her a second time but you did.  You’re a good person." They stood in silence; Baker, Eve and the ghost of the young woman