// haley george . wedding, lifestyle & humanitarian photography . charlotte, nc & worldwide // »

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the interaction went like this:

she tapped my shoulder from behind, interrupting the game of patty cake with the tiny boy in blue, pony tail on top of his head. as i turned, her eyes pierced me and i wished so deeply to understand her words. she stared, and she spoke.

i smiled in the goofy way that i do, and spoke back. there were two separate conversations, one about beauty and worth and joy and the color purple and the adoring children, and the other about something else so far beyond my comprehension. this i know: her name was ruby.

she took my hand, asking me to follow. i did, and so did the other children. we followed ruby, in her splendorous purple and polka dots, back under the bridge {where she so briefly disappeared behind the curtain of her house} and then up some rocks, to the place where chai and laundry and fellowship are the daily ritual.

foreign words, dance moves (“danskerna!”), and giddy smiles from old and young seated around the small fire, were the biggest gift: an invitation into their joy. there were more conversations, now. theirs made sense to everyone but me. mine was nothing but deep gratitude, freedom, disappeared fear, total presence, contentment. this is life: to simply follow and sit and share in everything so freely. ruby, now seated beside me, continued to speak.

i wish I knew what she’d said to me in the middle of that slum. but oh, how her joy transcended words.


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