My daughter stood by herself in the playground. Her short brown hair was in a small, messy ponytail. Her pink dress, full of flowers in bloom, floated about her as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other. She wrung her hands. She bit her lips. She climbed up the side to the top of the yellow slide. She climbed down again. A little boy ran passed her and she moved so he would have more room for his run. She turned toward the swings and looked at the little girls in their brightly colored hijabs, lifting each other on the swing, laughing and falling, pulling each other down and then up again. There was a little Hmong girl with long black hair crying at the edge of the playground. A teacher stood close by, saying words I couldn’t make out. My daughter stood by herself, unaware that I was looking.

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