I sat by myself in the wooden sandbox situated between the dirt road and the house that the other children lived in. Birds chirped in the tall trees surrounding me. I stared at the house wishing and wondering what it’d be like to live in one and sleep in a real bed. I had been inside before and could picture the tiny dark hallway with no windows where several bunkbeds were piled together lining both sides of the walls. Those children were so special to live in a house and sleep in those beds. How I longed to be special too.
I played alone in the sandbox while the house kids ran in and out and around the house playing their games. I was different. I lived in a tent. When it was warm we’d roll up the tent walls. My mother seemed to be very happy with our tent…but oh how I fantasized about those real beds. My happy mother was my only comfort in this strange place. Her soft, warm breast belonged in my mouth. Drinking her sweet milk as she held me close was pure heaven. There were lots of people up and down these dirt roads and I didn’t know any of them. They were all strangers, the women with their skirts and hair parted in the middle with long braids, the men with their long frizzy hair and faces full of beards wearing worn out jeans and overalls. And lots of children. Herds of them.
Soon I had a baby brother. He was born in our tent in the summer time. I thought my mother named him Sky because that is what she was looking at when she pushed him out on our tent floor with the top of the tent open. She would carry him in a special baby backpack and I’d follow her as we’d walk up the dirt road saying “hi” to everyone we passed. I was a big girl now, I was 2.