She sang, C-A-R-E-M-A, and danced to her own rhythm. In second grade Carema was the life of the party. There were only a few weeks throughout the year when her presence lit up the room but we were never happier.
We knew she was sick. There was a thing called cancer. Sometimes children got it and it made them very sick and some children died. But every time I saw Carema she was all smiles.
I don’t remember if we played together but Carema played with everyone. At this point I recall her ebony skin and white teeth but I can’t recall one word she ever said other than her name.
I do remember when third grade came and Carema did not return. It was then that I realized her name had the word ‘care’ in it. Everyone loved Carema but no one spoke of her death. Our minds filled with new words, numbers, and challenges.
But I always remembered that Carema had her own song and she didn’t care if you sung with her, cheered her on, or hid in the corner. Her spirit was her rhythm and our time with her was sacred.