I work in a theater, so I ran up to the props storage. Pulled out a suitcase, a hot water compress, a picture of Jesus, a bunny that's supposed to stand but the back is broken, and an older 1980s radio.
“Are you going to be alright, dear?” the driver of the cab questioned. In the few hours since dawn broke, he’d been looking back at the small girl in the back seat, attempting to piece together any bits of information he could about where she came from, and where she was going. She looked at him with emerald eyes, closely clutching a purple rabbit that had long since been broken. She fashioned a small grin, and nodded. Although he was concerned, the cab driver didn’t ask her anything else. “Alright, darlin’. We’re here, though.”
The cab had parked in front of a two-story house that was in uniform with the surrounding houses, save for a swinging bench and little table and radio that was set out on the front porch. It looked nice enough; well-kept, colors that were pale but not dull, and a lawn that showed that upkeep was indeed a priority. It looked much nicer than her old home, and that she was sure of. The girl slid out of the car, and grabbed her suitcase and bunny.
“Can you wait until I meet her? In case she’s mean and I want to leave?” the little girl asked, brushing back her brunette bangs. The driver nodded. She breathed in deep, and started walking towards the house. She clenched her bunny in her hand as she slowly approached the door, exhaling finally when she reached it. She made sure the cab driver was still waiting, and then knocked. A minute passed before the door unlocked.
Standing in the doorway was a small blonde woman, dressed in ripped jeans and a handkerchief that held her hair back from whatever tasks she had been doing prior to the girl’s arrival. A smile grew across her face, and she started the introduction.
“Ohmigosh, you’re here. Hiya! I’m Janet, but I guess you’ll call me whatever you want- really, it’s fine, I don’t expect to hear Mommy for a while, but if you’re comfortable… oh, nevermind. You’re Anna, right?” The little girl nodded, putting the suitcase down. “Oh! You want me to take that? Why’s a small girl like you have such a large suitcase, huh?” Anna shrugged, and remembered that the cab driver was still outside. She turned around and nodded at him, as Janet looked on. “You don’t say much, do you?” Anna shook her head. “And who’s this little guy?” Janet swiftly reached for the rabbit, as Anna flinched. Swift hands had never meant anything friendly at her old home. Seeing her reaction, Janet stood back up.
“Let’s get this to your room, then.” Janet picked up the suitcase and motioned for Anna to follow her to the back of the house. Pictures on the wall showed a smiling Janet, as well as family of her that Anna hadn’t heard about. They walked into a room that was painted purple, Anna’s favorite color. There were flowers on the wall, and decorations were placed around the room. The suitcase was placed on the bed, and opened. Very few things were in the suitcase: a couple of shirts, a pair of jeans, and a few other essentials. Nothing else. “You don’t have much, do you?” Anna shook her head. “C’mon, you gotta say SOMETHING.” Shifting nervously, Anna spoke.
“My mommy said that I was too bad to get a lot of things.” Janet’s expression softened. “That’s why I like my bunny. It’s the one thing I was good enough to have, even though she tried taking it away from me. That’s why his spine’s all messed up.” Anna swallowed hard, and looked around, focusing on a picture of Jesus on the nightstand. “Who’s that?”
Janet let out a small laugh, happy to be diverting attention from Anna’s old home. “That’s Jesus. Did you mommy ever tell you about him?” Anna shook her head. Janet continued. “Well, he’s a neat guy. He heals people, and helps a lot of them, too. It’s a huge story that I can try telling you, if you want.” Anna’s brow furrowed.
“He can heal?” Janet nodded, curious.
“Yeah, he can. You need some healin’?” Anna looked at the ground, and pulled up the sleeve on her shirt. A yellowed bruise was located on her upper arm, in the shape of five fingers. Janet let out a small gasp, and bent down next to her. “Anna. This looks old…”
“It is, but. I don’t like seeing it. Could Jesus heal it?”
“Maybe, but I’ve got a better idea. Come on.” Janet walked out of the room, and into the kitchen, fetching a compress from the drawer by the sink. She filled it with warm water, and motioned for Anna to follow her. They walked on to the porch, and sat on the bench. Janet placed the compress on to the bruise, and turned on the radio.
“It might not make it go away right now, but it’s gonna tell Jesus that he needs to get to work. Is that okay?” Anna gave a half-smile.
“You’re a lot nicer than I thought you were going to be.” Anna swung her feet off the side of the bench. “I like that, a lot. Is that a radio? It looks kinda old.” Janet smiled, and nodded.
“My mom gave it to me when she left...Do you like music?” she asked.
“Mommy never let me use the radio, but sometimes I heard it from my neighbors house- I really do like it.”
“Alright, well...let’s listen to some music, then.” Janet tuned it to a station that played old rock ‘n’ roll, and sat back.
“I’m glad you think I’m nice. That’s one of the things I think I’m pretty good at.”
“I think so. You’re gonna stay nice, right?” Janet placed a gentle hand on Anna’s shoulder.
“Yeah, I am. You’re gonna be treated like a princess here, girly. You’re gonna be happy here.”
Anna hugged her bunny tight, and let out a genuine smile. “Good.” She paused for a minute, and looked at the bunny. “Henry wants to know what you were doing before we knocked. You have a headband on- must’ve been something important.” Janet motioned for her to wait, and went in to the house. Moments later, she walked out with a small cake. In pink icing on top, read “Welcome to your new home, Anna!”.
“Thank you for being nice, Janet.”
“Thank you for giving me a chance to be, Anna.”