Inner Child

She peeks out from behind the door. She looks no more than six or seven years old. Her eyes are blue. She is barefoot. Her once-rose dress is shabby. The music must have caught her attention. Or the laughter. I signal it’s safe for her to come out and join. She shakes her head in a storm of wild copper-red curls. I smile and try again. Still a no. I leave her be to watch the dance. I won’t force her. I know I can’t force her. This is how far she has come in more than thirty-five years.