A Very Old Young Woman / by VH McKenzie

She's only about 5 or 6, but has the face of an old soul. Shy and quiet, she moves like a little old woman about the yard. She's carrying some kind of weight I can't quite put my finger on. She always wears the same expression: hopeful, curious, worried....

We took her to the sea one day. I don't know if she'd ever been there before. She was the first in the car, but the last one in the water. The enormity of the beach and the ocean gave her pause.

My daughters helped her up on an inflatable raft, certainly her first time with such a magnificent toy. Within seconds she'd tumbled over the side and without any fuss or flailing arms, she slowly sank to the bottom, her eyes wide, looking up at the sky through the water.

"That's just how she looked, mommy," said my daughter. "She just sank like a rock, on her back, looking up at us." A little hopeful, a little curious, and undoubtledly a little worried.

4"x6" ink and watercolor on paper.
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