Georgia hadn’t noticed the two or three other boys, fold up table, pitchers of lemonade, cooler filled with sandwiches. She was under the spell of the larger than life character motioning her. Mystery woman smiled. Georgia smiled back, walking towards the enigma. The lady extended her long, bright coral acrylic nails, hand trailing behind. Georgia reached over the table to meet it. That handshake told Georgia everything she would come to know and love deeply about this woman. She was black, Georgia was white, there was no divider between them, except that plastic table.
“Hi, I’m Georgia.” Georgia felt immediately happy and at ease in her presence.
“Miss Barbara.” It said enough. They’d have time to pass the hours, shoot the shit, laugh, become true friends. Separated by a world of circumstance, color, racial barriers, Miss Barbara saw only who was standing in front of her. The wet mop, good intentioned, scraggly, gangly white girl. The faintest whimper came from under a shaded tree directly behind her. Miss Barbara obscured her view of a sleeping infant in its stroller. Not intentionally, no, not on purpose. The precious, baby boy opened his transparent butternut eyes, stretched out his edible chunk arms, clapping, razor focus on Georgia. She felt dizzy and sick, wanted to run. Georgia got chills in ninety degree, asphalt heat. Miss Barbara steadied her, holding her arm ever so gently, the exact way her mother would.
“Some sugar, sugar,” pouring pink lemonade into a red, plastic cup. Georgia nodded grateful, her fate held in the firm handshake.
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