Closely admire your finger prints

She's a quiet girl, able to entertain herself easily on lazy afternoons when she's home alone, sitting on the gray, stone hearth and playing with her dolls. They go on adventures together, from the large white stone to the narrow brown stone to the stone that sticks out a bit too far. They always avoid the dark maw of the fireplace. The dolls are frightened of it and Mama says it'll make her dirty.

It doesn't look dirty in there. But maybe it's too dark to see. She longs to pull the little chain curtains apart and reach her hand inside, just to show her dolls that there's nothing to be afraid of, just so she can know what's so dirty about it. Her fingers prickle and her tiny hand drifts forward of its own accord before she pulls it back and giggles at her dolls' reactions to her daring.

She entertains herself at school during recess when all the other children are shouting and running. The shouting is too loud for her and she cringes away. They should use indoor voices.

One of the children stops in front of her and speaks to her. He speaks to her as if he knows her, as if he talks to her all the time. She huddles in on herself and answers his questions in a voice so quiet that the boy ends up as confused by her actions as she is by his.

"Are you afraid of butterflies?" he asks.


She wonders why he would ask her that. It's a non-sequitur and she doesn't know why anyone would be afraid of butterflies. Maybe he thinks that she's afraid of everything.

His hands shoot forward into her face, the butt of his palms pressed together, his fingers wiggling frantically like the legs of a centipede. She takes a jerking step backwards in surprise, and the boy crows. He runs away, shouting to the rest of the children that she's afraid.

She looks down and presses the butts of her own palms together. She wiggles her fingers experimentally until their gentle, spindly movements resemble the wings of a butterfly.

She entertains herself on long car rides, pressing her face close to the window and exhaling, leaving behind an oblong cloud of fog. She furrows her little eyebrows together and frowns in concentration, her lip pouting out ever so slightly as she plans her composition.

It can't be too crowded.

It can't be too detailed.

It can't be too trite.

Her thin fingertip hovers near the glass, pausing for a simple moment of hesitation. Then she reaches out and draws the first line against chilled glass.