by Catherine Proppe
"Keep your arm up. Keep it up!"
Helen was walking about ten yards ahead, her right arm extended straight up, holding an unlit torch.
"Tell here she needs to drop her shoulders down and back," Agnes instructed Sophia. But before Sophia could shout the directive, Helen's shoulders melted down and back, as if by magic, and her arm extended higher than it had all afternoon. The two women scanned the crowd at the marketplace to discover the source of her transformation. (Describe crowd here.)
Sure enough, taller than most boys his age, his face framed in dark curls, a young man stood with his eyes locked on Helen, an unabashed smile on his face. Helen's face turned ever-so-slightly toward him as they passed.
"And that works, too," said Agnes. "She could do worse."
"She could do better," said Sophia.
"You must begin Eirene's grammar lessons tomorrow," murmured Agnes.
"The festival commences in two weeks, Mother," Sophia objected. Dress rehearsals would begin in a week and she'd just found out her Aphrodite was hobbling around after twisting her ankle in a race. There were a million details with the costumes and her special effects crew wanted to try something new this year that could blow up half the audience. It wasn't the best time to be distracted with teaching her youngest daughter the alphabet.
"She is seven now, and the new moon is tonight. It is best to begin on the new moon," said Agnes. She looked into her daughter's face. "What are you so worried about? I will teach her. You have too much to do. I am her grandmother. I will teach her. Look, Helen's arm is sagging again."
"Keep it up!" Sophia shouted.