cindy invites you to supply harmonics...

...to accompany her incandescent strumming.

After a while, she looks up, triumphant. Cindy brandishes a crochet hook and gingerly begins to pull stitches from her shimmering skein. As she twists and loops, she motions for you to sit close. 

you watch. she constructs.

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you peer into the fabric...

and glimpse a spunky seven year old girl. She has a leaf entwined in her hair and proudly displays the scabs on her shins.

You listen.

The scrawny thing tugs at your sleeve and plucks the heart strings you thought you had hidden. She grins a lopsided smile and shows you a watercolor.

It's teal and cyan and gold. It's lumpy and splotchy and uneven. The painting is behind glass, professionally framed in minimalist black iron. The watercolor is a painting of a clown. 

Cindy won a painting contest because she refused to keep the pigments unblended. She splattered a war zone of purple hues, blending and mixing, until she had the perfect shades.

The art teacher exclaimed over the painstaking noodle tendrils that draped the clown's shoulders. Her mother proudly took her to have her work framed, after she won.

It was the first time Cindy set out to set herself apart from her peers. 

 ...You stare at her bulbous, leering clown. You pay attention to the detail the seven year old gave to the puffy mouth brimming with small, pointy teeth. 

Cindy defiantly tells you she ignored the body part suggestions that were lovingly doled out in class. She earned first place. 

she was happy.