At least I’m not living in an orphanage. Those are terrible! Mallory had needed to stay in one the first few nights after her parents’ deaths. She hadn`t enjoyed the experience one bit. And when the Trumans came and offered for her to stay with them she jumped at the chance. She didn’t completely understand why she was there, but she knew it had been there choice to take her in.
Or was it their choice? Mallory asked herself this question every day, even while watching Mrs. Truman as she cooked or cleaned; even while shopping with the woman; even when Mr. Truman took her to his work place or to the park in order to play. Mallory always wondered what their motivation was.
“Love.” Mrs. Truman had told her one day when Mallory asked that very question. “We love you.” Mallory asked her why, and Mrs. Truman became very still, gazing at the wall as though mesmerized by the wallpaper. Mallory didn’t understand what about the plain beige wall color had Mrs. Truman could find so interesting there.
“What?” Mallory asked now. “What is it?” Glancing at the wall she tried to see what Mrs. Truman obviously could; but all her eyes spotted were family portraits and a few photos of some grinning children. Mallory didn’t know the children, and no one had told her about them.
I wonder who they are, she thought while staring at the smiling, playful faces. Unable to tear her gaze away she stood, unmoving, for several long seconds.
When she finally looked back at Mrs. Truman it was to find the woman gazing at her with affection and—was that pity? Mallory didn’t know quite how to handle the warmth. How could she best handle this?