I have a 10 year old neighbor, I’ll call her Amy, who has drug addicted parents. She and Bhaerava play together a lot. The other day he gave her a peach off our tree, she said, “This is good, I never ate a peach before.” I have nothing even remotely resembling a poker face, but I managed to ask her nonchalantly enough if I had heard her correctly. “Well, I’ve only had them in cans.” We picked her a few more to take home.

Last night she came over as we were getting ready for bed – this is about the 3rd time now, for a medicine pill vile of rubbing alcohol. My mom needs some alcohol, she cut herself again on a sharp corner of her bed, she said, without looking me in the eyes. She’s speaking more softly than usually, her skin is oozing with shame. My husband and I look at each other, do people really drink this stuff? I give her a few drops, hoping it’s not my substance that will finally do her mother in. I hate that corner of the bed, she offers. I don’t know how to say no to her without blowing the cover on the drama she’s presented.

I want to hug her and tell her she can tell me anything and I will be there for her. Instead I offer her a tofu dog. She almost never says no to food, but tonight she just shakes her head and completely avoids all eye contact.
Do you want to come over tomorrow and ride bikes with us, I ask.
Okay. See ya, she sighs.

She told me her mother told her to sleep on the top bunk, that way she won’t be scared of anyone getting her. I’m not sure how literal that advice was…

The next day I give her some tomatoes from the garden and she talks to me about Jesus. That’s when I see her eyes start to sparkle. So I teach her how to meditate on Jesus. Well, actually Bhaerava does. He tells her that Jesus is just like Baba (our guru). He says, so I’ll think about Baba and you can think about Jesus, and that’s how we can meditate together, okay? Then we all meditate together for approximately 2 minutes and 17 seconds.


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