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August 10, 1996
Pat sat on the porch with a magazine and a glass of lemonade as she watched Harmony riding her bike. Harmony was still unsteady on the bike, but she was getting better everyday. Pat was so proud of the beautiful little girl. She had survived so much in her short lifetime. Pat had met other children who had lost or been deserted by their parents and they were angry. They felt like the world owed them something. Plenty of those children lived in this neighborhood, on this street. But not her Harmony. No one was sweeter than her baby girl.
“Look, Grandma Pat, look!” Harmony called out as she turned the bike and rode into the driveway.
Pat clapped and was full of pride as she answered. “That’s wonderful, baby! You just be careful and remember to watch for cars. If you see one coming I want you to move over and stop riding until it passes.”
“OK, I will.” Harmony called out as she turned the bike and rode back into the street after looking left and right and then left again to check for cars.
Pat finished her lemonade and stood up. “Harmony, I need you to come into the yard and stay here while I run inside for a minute. I’ll be right back and then you can ride some more before we get cleaned up for dinner.”
Harmony pulled the bike into the front yard and came to an unstable stop before hopping off the bike and smiling at her Grandma Pat. “I’ll be right here waiting for you.” She smiled as she started rubbing some imaginary dirt off of the bike she loved.
Pat smiled and waved at the little girl she loved with her whole heart as she walked into the house.
Once in the house Pat poured herself some lemonade and grabbed an unopen bag of Oreos. She told herself that it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple before dinner. She was heading back outside when the phone rang and she backtracked to pick it up.
Mary Harrison was on the phone. She was calling to chat and check on Harmony. School would be starting soon and the Harrisons wanted to see if they could help purchase any school supplies that Harmony would need. The Harrisons were always offering to help.
Pat felt guilty for leaving Harmony in the yard because she knew the little girl wanted to ride her bike. But the Harrisons had been good friends to both Pat and Harmony and school supplies were expensive so their help was always welcome. Pat knew that Harmony would wait in the yard like she had been told to do. Harmony always did what she was told to do. So, Pat grabbed the list of supplies Harmony was going to need for third grade, pulled out a chair and sat at the table.
Harmony was in the yard waiting for her Grandma Pat and still polishing the red bicycle she was so proud of when she looked down the street and noticed some other kids from the neighborhood playing. There were only three or four kids and none of them were on bikes, but Harmony had seen them riding bikes before. She just knew that they would get their bikes and ride with her once they saw she had a one.
Harmony kept her eyes on the kids. She didn’t want them go move on before her Grandma Pat came back out, but they looked like they were getting restless and Pat was taking a long time in the house.
Harmony knew she was supposed to stay in the yard. She knew that she should listen to Grandma Pat, but she really wanted friends to play with. She wanted her Grandma Pat to see that she could make friends. She wanted Grandma Pat to see that the bike was worth the money she had spent to buy it.
Harmony looked toward the house hoping to see that Grandma Pat had sneaked back out onto the porch, but she wasn’t there. Harmony looked at the kids playing down the street and decided for the first time ever to break one of Grandma Pat’s rules.