Pink Castle in the Sky

“Hot chocolate

Dipsy Doodles

Candy-covered Tootsie Rolls,

Cotton candy

And color-stained lip gloss….”

Her mouth waters

Her stomach rumbles

In response to her thoughts.

Then she hears the cries.

Is that her cousin crying in the next room?

Or another 3-year-old in her East Flatbush building?

Oh yes, it is her cousin.

One more hour and “Yes!”

She’d be buying what she wanted – with her own money.


“Working isn’t so bad,” she decides.

It allows her to shop without her aunt’s okay.

Yes, money in the pocket is good.

16-years-old. Haitian. Female. Focused dreamer.

As she walks down the hall to her cousin’s bedroom

Her inner eye imagines her future penthouse apartment in the sky.

As she rocks and cradles her 3 year old cousin Augustin,

And dreams of hugging her own children.

She considers nixing the cotton candy –

Saving the money for her future would make more sense –

When –




“No visitors while I’m gone”

Echoes through her mind

Humming a lullaby, kissing Augustin’s closed eye-lids





She puts Augustin in his bed

And caresses his head.

She closes his bedroom door.

Then she quietly walks to the door.

Rumors around the neighborhood were that boys were on the watch

Seeing if teen girls were home alone and “messing with their heads”

By acting like characters in horror films

One quiet peek through the peephole wouldn’t draw their attention, she decides.




“Who’s at the door?”


She spins around and sees Augustin standing behind her.

“Go to sleep Augustin.” she whispers

“Why are you whispering?” he asks innocently


She freezes when she hears her name called.

Who was that?

She looks out the peep hole

“Mary, can I talk to you?”


How could he see her?

He was always watching her

She’d done the right thing – never talked back;  tried to avoid him on the street.

Still he was always watching her. From a distance.

And now he was on the other side of a door.

Could he see her?

“I’m not allowed – “


Then came the blast

Boom! Boom! Boom!


She’d upheld the “No visitors while I’m are gone” rule

No one had mentioned “Beware of shots through the door”

Sound of Augustin screaming

Sound of feet running

Sound of a woman screaming

Was it her?

“Why?” she whispers.


Her eyes blink rapidly as she self-accesses…

100% dedicated – check

Reliable. Obedient. Smart. Check

Delivered at 5am 16 years ago in Haiti – check.

On the verge of getting American citizenship – check

She hears her aunt calling her name

“Mwen pat’ louvri pot la”

Her breath barely carried “I didn’t open the door” pass her lips

Her aunt nods and smiles

“Who did this to you?”

“Eric. On the corner”

Her aunt’s tears fall onto her cheek

“What about my hot chocolate and lip gloss?”

She whispers.

Her aunt has no idea what to say.


Dreams of Dipsy Doodles fade.

At some point the pain subsides

And a wave of pleasure washes away the pain.

Delivered at 5am in Haiti in Cite Soliel

Transitioned 16 years late at 5pm in East Flatbush, New York


She feels force sweeping her up and away.

Sound of crying in the far distance

Suddenly, she lands straddled on an oversized tube of lip gloss

She floats down a river of hot chocolate topped with cotton candy

Suddenly the tube takes off into the sky,

Higher and higher and higher – past the tallest NYC skyscraper

To a pink castle in the clouds.


Then silence.


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