The word fuck dripped in melted crayon, spilling over the side of the cardboard and onto the floor. She watched as her children belted the words with a blow dryer. A 3rd grade art project, she briefly wondered what her teacher would think before dismissing it. They probably wouldn’t care.
It wasn’t like she cared. If she did, her child would not be doing this, but as the f rolled down the face of the cardboard, all feeling of embarrassment left her. Her child was going to be told curse words sooner or later.
The one room apartment they lived in was sparse, with only a small cot in the corner where they slept in and a makeshift kitchen on the other side. She had left the balcony opened, the fresh air just about the only thing new. They sat in front of an old tv and at a low rise coffee table. Her daughter’s school supplies were thrown to the wall next to them, and she glanced at the clock, noting how close it was for her to leave for the night shift.
“Are you hungry? I left some food in the fridge, but you can eat it now if you want.”
Her daughter shook her head.
“No thank you, mama.”
The letters were glued on in mismatched colors of crayon, broken and pieces of paper still stuck on. She reached over and fingered her daughter’s pigtails. The beads jingled, and her daughter leaned out of her touch.
“Stop it, mama. It hurts.”
Maybe I tied it too tight, she thought. It happened sometimes, but better that than the hair getting loose. Her daughter moved on over to the k, and she thought it was interesting that the wax dripped down, like dried colored tears.