Mom has managed to get the trips into an in-demand charter school. I know - the teachers aren't unionized, they experiment on students, they abet segregation - but in the Philadelphia public school system they're a life raft in choppy seas and it was not easy to secure three spots on the same raft.
Art, sports and music - this school has 'em. So look out junior high. The triplets are on their way. And guess what - the new school is in their old neighborhood; where you were born, I told them when we visited a few weeks back. And that park, Norris Square? Your first park, your first trees, your first swings.
They'll be taking the subway or a city bus a few miles south, back into the Badlands. That's why I walked them through it, reminded them - this is yours. You can feel safe here, or as safe anyway as you feel up where you live now, where you know everyone.
And then we walked back from the school to Kaki's house, where five adults in recovery live now. The boys know them, played checkers with them.
"Leslie and Vince, and Mary - they'll be right close by. If there's an emergency at the school or something."
"Yeah like if someone gets shot," said little Lamarr.
That's the sort of thing they're thinking about, worrying about, as they enter--not high school--but sixth grade.
Arts, sports, music and (I pray) a way to make peace.