At first, she ignored me. She’s so used to not being seen, going unnoticed, that she didn’t even realize I was talking to her. She just sat there, like she does, feet on the chair and knees tucked up by her chest with her arms circled tight around herself, quietly staring out the window. When I finally got her attention she shook her head “no,” waving her hands like two tiny startled birds, and when I wouldn’t stop, she rushed outside and hid behind the lilac bushes. I realized my talking was only making things worse, my voice making her shake, so I got quiet too. I sat in the dirt next to her and waited. Finally she started to relax. After awhile she moved closer, eventually leaning into me, resting her head on my shoulder.
“Nobody ever listens to me, you know.” Suddenly she was so small, curled into my lap like a cat. “It’s like no one even knows I’m here.”