The other day I was given a girl's info. She was between the ages of 5 and 7 (remember, I can't give identifying details). I read there had been issues in her home. I planned a good day for me to stop in and see her. I couldn't quite find the street, so I called a girlfriend that told me where it was. I've lived in Atlanta my whole life and I don't scare easily. However that was only the second time in my life that I've been scared in an area. I've walked up and down Bankhead, Candler Rd, and Old National Hwy on numerous occasions with no problems, but I was so freaking scared as I drove down this street. My friend accurately described the area when she called it "lawless." I saw so many people that were walking ghosts. They had no spirits and no souls, they walked the streets, darting out, as if a 4,000 pound vehicle hitting them would be the least of their problems. I tried my best to play it cool, but driving slowly through that neighborhood was certainly not what I wanted to do. I cursed to myself when I had to make a u-turn in front of everyone, announcing to the world that I was not only fresh blood, I was lost fresh blood. I quickly called the mother of the child I was to meet with and thankfully got her to tell me exactly where she was located.
Once I made it to the home, I was amazed at the condition of it. Honestly, if it hadn't been occupied, I'm sure it would have been deemed unfit for residency and torn down. My plan was initially to meet with the little girl and her mother, but their home was in such a sad state that I instead offered to take them to McDonald's. The mother declined, but she told me that I could take her child instead, so off we went.
There was a McDonald's in the area, but I decided to venture out to another one. I couldn't bear to be out there any longer than I had to. When we got to McDonald's my little counterpart quickly became a favorite to everyone there. She was so friendly and outgoing. The workers there complimented her and she talked to them with ease. She easily answered my questions about school and her family life. It was clear that despite living in such immense poverty, she was raised in so much love. I knew I had to eventually embrace the topic, but I really didn't want to. I didn't want to bring it up, when she was so happy. But I did. I had to. I had a job to do.
I was absolutely horrified. As a professional, I knew to remain brave and strong for the little girl. I praised her for being brave enough to tell her mother and I assured her that she did absolutely nothing wrong. Amazingly, as we discussed it, she didn't withdraw. She didn't say she'd had any bad dreams about it, and she simply tries not to think about it. We agreed to call him another word other than his name, because she didn't like to say it. After she'd bounced around McDonald's for an hour, I decided it was time to take her home. I hugged her goodbye and I promised her that we would go out again. I bid goodbye to the family and left.