They usually look around 11 years old. Girls only. I stare at them. I’m thinking, “is someone touching her? Is she hiding a secret? Is it a relative, a neighbor, a family friend, her brother, her father? I watch their every move, looking for signs without knowing what to look for. How would I know? How does it show? They look like ordinary little girls. Their scars are invisible. Hidden from view. I stare for a long time, as though by staring I might see beyond the veil of innocence. I am looking for clues, but what are they? Do they look sad? Are they flirtatious? Are they well-developed? Do they chew on their bottom lip, wring their hands, tap their feet, play with their hair, sit pensively? Do they frown, walk with their shoulders sagging down to the ground, avoid your gaze, block you out, avoid your touch, encourage your touch? What do they show, that we don’t see?
And so I Stare …..