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Butterflies and Unicorns

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A giggle arises from a table of second grade girls as their conversation about butterflies and unicorns comes to an abrupt halt. A tiny finger rises to point at one of their own species. However, as pink ribbons adorn the friends’ long pigtails and braids, a colorful bow is tied solely around this newcomer’s shiny head. Her bald head. Laughing merrily, the group simultaneously rises and runs off to play jump rope, abandoning the odd little girl to her tears. She slips into one of the forsaken seats. Her bottom lip quivering, she bows her naked head and touches her ribbon with a shaking hand. All she wants is someone to smile at her and be her friend. Is she asking too much? She may have but a handful of months to live.
In the giant high school just across the street, another girl is hit in the head by a football thrown carelessly across the hall to a buddy. A sardonic apology is shoved in her face, accompanied by a mocking laugh. She shrugs it off, leaving the antagonist to his mirth. A condescending gaze falls upon her from beneath mascara-drenched lashes as she shuffles past a cheerleader clique fussing with their golden curls. Her own makeup masks her flaws. The long sleeves she carefully tugs down over her wrists hide her swollen bruises.
Beside the busy street between, a scruffy man stands with a cardboard sign in his hands. The words scrawled hastily in black sharpie cry out in a desperate plea for help, but as cars zoom by, the only reply comes in the form of a disgusted look from many a successful CEO or real estate agent. He had been an honest worker once, too- until his company couldn’t afford to pay him anymore and had to lay him off. Is the dying economy in any way the fault of this one man? No job openings are available. His hard-earned home was ripped away from him by the bank. His wife left him, taking with her their two sons and baby daughter. Now he has nothing. Nothing but the disdain of total strangers.
Everyone has a story. Every day people are suffering; they don’t need anything more added to their pain. Who gave us the authority to pound a gavel on their lives? Who are we to cast judgment on a scenario we are completely ignorant of? Though the scenes I’ve painted are fictional, they are a reality for so many. I’m not going to rant more, but keep in mind: Either you can read the true story or simply back off. Out there, it’s not fiction.



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