Friend of Liberty (cont.)

When the strange girl appeared, I didn’t yet know her name was Dorinda, of course. I didn’t even know it was possible for such a girl to exist in our small northern-Illinois town. All I knew was that, as I meandered along the edge of the deep woods that took up where our lawn left off, someone I’d never seen before stepped out of the trees. Actually, she leapt out, jumping a rotting log that lay in her path and landing not more than three feet from where I stood.

I would have been more ready for the sudden appearance of an angel . . . or a troll. When the girl materialized directly in front of me, I stopped, utterly still, and stood gazing at her as though I’d just come upon a display of public art. Her hair was braided in two long, thick braids that caused me to reach up to touch the empty space at the back of my own head where I had once had braids of equal heft and length. Her cheeks were high, chiseled, her dark eyes filled with light. She wore a bright yellow sundress, starched and ironed, and white sandals that looked more suited for church than for tromping through the woods. And her skin glowed blue black.

In that first startled examination, I thought everything about her fascinating. Mostly, though, it was her skin, the rich, dark color of it that held me captive.

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