Song 2 ♪ A Cross and A Girl Named Truth

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I ran like the cops were chasing me.

I didn't even look at my watch to see if I was completely screwed. I just kept going and almost got ran over at a stop sign. But the car had the stop and I didn't, so I kept going. Ma had been right that we were close to the school, but on foot it felt like it was at a different freaking country and I wasn't exactly the fittest person around. By the time I made it to the front gate I was drenched in sweat and was having so much trouble breathing that I couldn't even tell the guard my name.

"Jesus Christ, girl." He was an older hispanic man. "Deep breaths, I need you to be able to tell me what your business is here so that I can usher you in or out."

I nodded and held my palm up, asking for a second. I drew in gasps of air and finally said my name. He blinked at me.

"I'm here for the interview."

His brows drew together. "I didn't think we were looking for cleaning crew anymore."

I shook my head. "No, as a student."

I could tell he had trouble processing that and my maid uniform together. But still, he walked back into the little room he had at the front and pulled up a paper. "Vera Maria de la Cruz Vazquez?"

"Yes." I pulled myself up and tried to straighten my clothes. "That's me."

"You're ten minutes late."

My stomach plummeted all the way to the floor and I felt my eyes sting with tears like it was a party trick and I wanted to impress.

"Did I... lose my chance?"

He shifted his weight from one leg to the other. "Well, I don't know. That's not for me to say. Let me make a call."

I willed my eyes to suck back the tears to no avail, they started to roll down my cheeks in fat rivers. I wiped them away furiously, mad at myself. I singlehandedly fulfilled my earlier fear that ma would make me miss the interview. It'd actually been her who realized what had been about to happen and tried to prevent it. How stupid could a person be to flush their dream down the toilet in such a careless way?

"No. Yes," he said on the phone to someone, looking at me with clear cut pity. "She's here. It looks like she's had some... difficulties."

To put it mildly.

He started nodding to the phone. "Yes, yes. Good. Right away, ma'am." He hung up and turned to me. "They'll give you a chance."

My knees almost gave in right then. "Thank God," I said. My lips were trembling. As I followed the guard past the gates I told myself I had to kick ass during this interview. They were already coming into it with a bad first impression, all my fault, and it was also on me to erase that and win them over.

The thought of that made me nauseous. It wasn't something I'd ever achieved. I wasn't confident or charming and the only times I ever managed to gain some sort of admiration from people was when I sang. But these people were not here to hear me sing, they were here to hear me speak and make my case about why it'd benefit them to take me as charity.

No pressure.

Nervous as I was, I couldn't appreciate my surroundings. I suddenly developed the vision of a horse, only able to see ahead of me to where the guard guided me. As if he were the carrot that was being dangled toward my goal. My mind suddenly drew blank even as he led me through the hallways of the most sumptuous building I'd ever stepped foot in. He stopped at a set of giant oak doors and knocked. The wood seemed so thick I couldn't understand how anybody inside could hear, but only a second later a nun opened the door.

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