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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the child

Some time ago - before I retired from Bellsouth - I was working at a telephone pedestal along side the roadway and I noticed the approach of a young woman. She appeared to be in her late teens and was trailed at a short distance by a small girl I guessed to be about three.

The purpose of her short trip from her rental trailer was to ask questions concerning how to get a phone hooked up to her residence.

While answering her questions I heard the anxious cries of a younger child that I was unable to see at first because of screening bushes. A small lad of about one toddled into view, having only one shoe and one dirty bare foot, a scene that might have been comical in other circumstances, but I had just learned from her that she was living with her boyfriend.

She didn't appear to be negligent and walked to pick up the little boy that had slipped down several times on the uneven ground. My mind wanted to believe other scenarios, but all evidence pointed to the fact that this was an unmarried mom with two small children in a relationship without real commitment.

She did not yet have the "hard life" lines in her face, I don't know if it was just too soon for that or if she simply didn't know there was a better life than this. She walked away with one child on her hip and the other in tow and my mind glimpsed the limitations and heartache of her future.

Even though she was not my child, as I drove away, this father's heart broke and I cried for this child with children. ec


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