Sadie tugged at Mama's blouse. She bent down and listened as Sadie whispered in her ear.
"Now?" Mama asked, and Sadie nodded. Mama sighed. "Pardon me, Ma'am, but my little girl needs to use the bathroom. May we?"
The lady's eyebrows shot way up, her forehead pulled taut, her lips pursed. An awkward moment passed before she said, "Well, I suppose so," and pulled the door open, stepping aside to let Mama pass.
"Here, Daisy." Mama turned to me. "Take Joe."
I reached out for the baby and fitted him onto my hip. His arms wrapped around me, and I buried my face in his neck, breathing in his sweet baby scent: milk, powder, Farina.
Mama and Sadie walked through the front door.
"Me, too," said Tommy.
"Me, three," said Becca.
They filed into the house behind Mama and Sadie.
The lady followed. "Down that hall, second door on the right," she directed.
Daddy and I stood on the stoop, peering in through the screen door.
"Do you have to use the bathroom, too?" she asked.
"No, Ma'am," I said
"Would you like a drink of water?"
I nodded, and she let us in.
Inside, the house was cool, clean, and smelled like Clorox. Everything shined: the tabletops, the floors, the windows. I felt like I'd walked into a picture in a magazine. Our house was cluttered with books and toys, piles of laundry, and shoes kicked off into corners and under chairs. Fingerprints of all sizes smudged each and every surface. This house seemed unlived-in. It was pretty, but it made me sad.
"Your house is nice," I said, trying to make pleasant conversation.
"Thank you," the lady said, leading us to the kitchen. This room, too, was spotless. She went to the sink and filled two paper cups with tap water, and handed them to Daddy and me.
I sipped carefully, wanting to make it last. Joe reached for the cup, and I gave him a taste. My stomach grumbled, a reminder that my morning bowl of Froot Loops and milk went down hours ago. I glanced around the kitchen and noticed a bowl of fruit on the counter: Plump, ripe peaches, and ruby red plums, full of promise. I could almost taste the juicy sweetness, could almost feel the warm juice dribbling down my chin. I longed for one, but didn't dare ask.
The lady noticed my staring at the bowl of fruit. She pushed it further back into a corner of the counter
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