This is JM and he is from the island.

He tells me he is ten years old and that he ran away from home. His papa works at the old Catholic school in Opon, but he won't tell me papa's name.

JM lives under the bridge now, he tells me. JM watches over the neighborhood kids. The mama of the kids was shouting at him because he let them out in the playground at lunch. JM is still a kid, too. I wonder if he wonders what his mama is doing right now.

JM likes to play with strangers, I found out. He knows all the words to the silly rhymes.

Are you hungry? I asked.

He told me he was.

I wondered if he was referring to his tummy or his heart. I let him pick a pack of junk food (he chose fish crackers) and a bottle of water. I can only remedy his tummy's hunger, for now.

I've always wondered where street kids go at night, or when they'd get their next meal. The comfort he's known these days were perhaps a cardboard box between his back and the pavement. And yet JM smiles a smile that reaches his eyes and knows all the words to the rhymes and treats strangers like friends.

Go home to your papa, I told him, You should go home.

I wonder if he did, or if he stayed in the playground waiting for strangers to be his playmates.

K x

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