February 19

Dear Diary,
Yesterday evening, Sandro came with the street children to the courtyard. His hair was wet and combed back from his face, and his shirt was clean. Although his arm was still in a cast, he looked much better than when I last saw him. He was hanging around the gate, looking in, as if trying to make up his mind—but Papa saw him and walked straight up and clamped a hand on his shoulder.

“You come in, Sandro. Do not stand outside as if you don’t know us.” Papa guided him in and pointed to a table. “Sit down and eat. I want to talk to you, anyway.” Papa looked over at me and raised his eyebrows. I quickly put food on a plate and brought it to the table, setting it in front of Sandro. His eyes slid over to me, but he said nothing.

“Eat,” said Papa. “Where have you been staying?”

Sandro shrugged. “At the casa, sometimes,” he replied. His eyes flicked to me again, and he frowned.

Papa looked over at me. “Gracias, Consuelo.” I could tell he wanted me to go away, so I did.

Casa Alizia must be why Sandro looks as if he’s had a shower, and why his shirt is clean. Some of the children who used to visit us don’t come as often anymore, and they say it is because they are at the casa. A few of them are even taking lessons, so they can go to school during the day. But I bet Sandro isn’t doing that. He is too proud.

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