I sat huddled outside the door to the room all the girls were in. I was the only one my age in the shelter—all the other kids were babies or teenagers—and I was achingly lonely. I listened to them laugh and sing along to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” I hated Michael Jackson, and my shyness would probably prevent me from opening my mouth, but I still wanted to be in the room with those girls. Suddenly the door opened a crack, and a suspicious eye was cast on me. I turned toward it hopefully. “How old are you?” came a muffled voice.
I hesitated. Should I lie? “Eight,” I answered honestly.
“Will you tell anyone what we talk about in here?” the voice asked.
“No, I swear,” I answered with as much vehemence as I could muster.
One final question from the voice: “Do you like Michael Jackson?”
“I love him,” I lied while mentally vowing to apologize to God a hundred times later that night.
“Okay, you can come in,” the voice relented. And the door swung open.