Millie joined Cecile in front of the hot oven. “No, you don’t go near the stove. Have a drink of water.” She reached into the cupboard for a glass. As Cecile’s fingers brushed it, Millie tugged on her. The cup slipped from the cabinet and shattered on the floor.
“Millicent Mae Dowd, look at what you made me do.”
With each word, Cecile’s voice rose in pitch. Millie opened her mouth and released a wail to rival that of any injured cat. The apartment door swung open. No, please, no. A visit from Mrs. Ward was the last thing Cecile needed.
“Cecile, dear, is everything okay?”
Stooped, gray-haired Mrs. Ward from downstairs popped in. Not what Cecile needed, an annoyed neighbor snooping on the disaster area they called home. She pulled her lace-trimmed handkerchief from her pocket and wiped her nose. “I’m sorry. We broke a glass. I’ll keep Millie quiet.” She lifted the child into her arms and straightened her ruffled dress. Mrs. Ward surveyed the room in a single sweep. “I’m far too old to do much good, but maybe I can help you in some way.” Her honey-smooth Southern accent washed over Cecile.
No. God told you to work with your own hands.
The old woman shuffled toward Cecile, her cane tapping the way. She touched Cecile’s shoulder, and Cecile fought the urge to weep like Millie. If only Momma were here. If only Momma still loved her and accepted her. “You can’t do this by yourself, but I have a solution. Miss Georgia Tann is doing wonderful things at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. She’ll take this little darlin’ in and watch her for you until you can manage. And it won’t cost you a thing. Just temporary, you know. Soon you’ll have Millie home and everything back to right”.
To be Continued …