*Names are changed to protect the confidentiality of the youth.
I prepared my vehicle by concealing my purse and iPad under my car seat in the unsafe, and run down neighborhood, and walked extra quickly to dodge the rain. As I was let into the building, and led to the interview area in the dank shelter,
Annette walked into the interview room, and I focussed my attention, almost solely, on keeping my face in order. There is a special kind of "art" to maintaining the warm smile, and relaxed body language, when you are interacting with a child who is at the actual end of their emotional rope. Those feelings are compounded with the real-life abandonment the girl carries under the soul-crushing reality of living out her days in a shelter for minors.
Black-eyes are evidence of trauma. Perhaps, so much more trauma than we can really ever know.