by Gigi Spout age 8
When I stayed at my grammy’s apartment for the summer, there was nothing to do because it’s dangerous to play outside in District 11. I like to play jump ropes and kick balls, but they don't do that here. People are mean, and they steal and hurt each other. When I asked grammy why people do that, she said they don’t know better. But I said if you hurt someone, you know they are hurt, and that’s mean, so why would you hurt someone then? My grammy didn’t know, but she said there was someone who said, “No.” When I asked what that meant, grammy took me on a walk. We passed lots of streets and buildings that looked sad and were so old, they leaned on each other for support. There was also lots and lots and lots of garbage everywhere. Good thing there are artists here and they like to draw on everything. I stopped to look at some pretty colored pictures of people playing twist and point. Or maybe they were wrestling, I don't know. But someone forgot to draw their clothes. Grammy covered my eyes and said to keep walking. In the middle of Block 40, there is a small shop colored pretty pink. I like pink very much, but this was a special pink. There was no garbage on the ground, and no pictures were on any of the pink walls. Everything else had drawings, but not here. On the roof was a great big smile of teeth. Under it said, “Tried Eating Elsewhere? Try Here!” Grammy said the shop was called TEETH. That made me giggle. She said TEETH was an ‘astonishing natural wonder’. A shop run by grammys who lived in this neighborhood. When you go in the front door, a pretty bell sings out loud to tell everyone you’re here to visit. The air smelled like cocoa and cake, and we sat in a pink booth. I watched boys at the counter. Many were boys I saw throwing garbage cans in the street, or picking on cats, and throwing rocks at windows. But here they were nice and when a grammy brought ice cream sidas to them, they all smiled and said ‘Thank You.’ Grammy told me that when the people of this neighborhood got mean, some of the children went to the hospital. Some of them even died. That’s when other grammys said, “No,” to the neighborhood. Those who lost their little ones said they decided to love the hate out of the children, and bought this shop together. All the grammys can cook and bake, so they make yummy things to sell to families and businesses. My grammy said they take that money and use it to make more goodies to give to the kids who have no money. Like the boys at the counter. Grammy says love is a natural thing, and that loving someone was more important than anything else. But some people choose to hate, and love can die. Just like a flower you don’t water. I think that’s why no one hurts this shop. No one draws on it. Cause everyone who comes in is loved. It’s a flower growing all by itself, in the middle of nowhere. And who doesn’t like flowers? Especially when it gives you cake.