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The girl and the stage

When I boarded the elevator in my building around 11 o' clock on the Sunday morning of a long holiday weekend, a mother and three children were already on. I could tell they were not residents, partly because I’d never seen them, but mostly from their shared excitement; they were going somewhere.

And dressed for it; each was in a new outfit. They were young enough that Maman chose: coordinated tees and shorts for the six and eight year old boys, a ditsy-flowered skirt and pink cardigan for the girl, about ten. They were a good stretch from adolescence, when their slouching-S postures will sag under hoodies. They looked like a catalog page: The boys’ ball caps were pristine; the girl’s braids firm and precise.

They’re not from here, I thought, noticing the careful ensembles and alert cheer. Maman spoke to them with calm precision. “We will have lunch with them”, she said, “ and after that, the theatre.”

This word floats past the boys, but “theatre” electrifies the girl. Her already …

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