The night before

Tonight, the kids of Indian Creek Apartment Homes were wired with anticipation. Late into the evening, swarms of little boys - Igey included - raced bikes up and down the complex. Inside, families showed off new backpacks, lying ready for morning.

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Tonight, the kids of Indian Creek Apartment Homes were wired with anticipation. Late into the evening, swarms of little boys - Igey included - raced bikes up and down the complex. Inside, families showed off new backpacks, lying ready for morning.

Even Thayoomoo Ywin, a bright Burmese second-grader who's 7 going on 30 and her mom's sole connection to the English-speaking world, was acting like a little girl for once - dancing with her friends in the parking lot, below the orange street lamps. Last year, Thayoomoo was in Igey's first-grade class and was always the first to leap up when the teacher asked for help sweeping up paper scraps, or collecting scissors. Tomorrow morning, her brother starts kindergarten; it's up to her to get him there.

Tonight she was torn. "We should go to bed," she kept saying, "because tomorrow is school." It was 9 p.m. and dark. Around the complex, parents were calling their kids inside. But Thayoomoo's were still on the stairs, chatting with a friend. The street lamps cast marvelous, long shadows of the children as they danced. "Maybe just not yet," she said.

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