When Justine was a girl she frequently wandered off on her own. Her mother was indulgent and trusting: as long as Justine was home before soft, purple dusk fell she could leave the backyard and her bedroom freely.
Justine could have done a lot with that freedom. She could have sat at the counter at Woolworth’s and giddily flirted with older boys, or she could have borrowed change from the cup on her father’s dresser and gone to a movie. Instead she usually went to vacant lot not far from her house.
The place was so rough, so feral, most adults couldn’t see the chaotic beauty of the overgrown lot. They saw weeds where Justine saw delicate wildflowers. They saw broken glass where she saw glints of bright color and glittery light. No one ever found her hiding in the coneflowers and Queen Anne’s lace.