Her name was Plum. Just Plum. She had been dropped off outside the fire station when she was ten. She did not claim a last name and no one gave her one.
She was a quiet child with bright, wide eyes that suggested she had once been a much louder, much more vibrant child. Plum sat on the orphanage steps, hiding deep in her long, dark hair, watching everything with her bright eyes. But she did not watch the children who bounced colorful balls and skipped rope and laughed over rowdy games of hopscotch. Plum ignored them, looking beyond the children to the cars on the street.
She watched the rotating wheels, the turning, churning hubcaps. She listened to the roar of their engines and squinted in the glare thrown off of their slick coats of paint. She seemed to be looking for something – a glimpse of a driver’s face, perhaps, or a small, skinny dog darting between the great, turning wheels – but her eyes never lit up with recognition. Plum just sat hunched over on the steps, watching the cars from beneath her long hair.