“Charlotte… Charlotte?” after several failed attempts at getting the two-year-old’s attention, Erica called to her husband. 

“Rich, will you do something about Charlotte? She’s eating dirt again.”

Rich looked up from his book and took a sip of beer. He had been enjoying the last bits of daylight while his wife prepared dinner. Their other daughter was six. She sat reading next to Rich, still covered in husk strings from helping her father shuck the ears of Jersey corn that were now in a giant pot of boiling water over the campfire. 

“Charlotte!” Rich said, shouting to get the dirt-covered toddler’s attention, who, sitting not five feet away from her father, did not respond or even look up. She never did. Nor did she ever speak. Despite two ear surgeries attempting to correct the fluid buildup from birth, Charlotte remained completely unresponsive and mute. Instead she sat alone, unconcerned and eating dirt. 

“Charlotte!” Rich said again, this time walking over and scooping her into his arms. 

“Just sit her over there,” Erica said. “Dinner is almost ready.”

Rich positioned Charlotte in her high chair, shaking the last fistfuls of dirt from her tiny hands before passing her arms through the chair’s straps and securing the clasp. He then turned to help his wife transport the steaming corn and charred hotdogs to their folding card table. Next to the table, Charlotte squirmed in her high chair. 

Until this day, the couple had thought their daughter was deaf. But she wasn’t. 

Charlotte opened her mouth, and with authority and conviction, she said her first words, “Let me out. I’m stuck.”


Originally from the east coast, Cha Cha lives in southern California with her fiance (he’s a plumber) and their bob-tailed cat, Copper Soup.

As a woman, Cha Cha spends her time writing, reading (though not as much as she wishes she did), watching Project Runway (way more than she wished she did—especially since the show ended in 2019), trying to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day (otherwise, she won’t leave the house because she works from home), learning how to manage her money, and talking to herself out loud.

Blog Beat

I’m not afraid to say it! Who’s with me?! *:)

Back Beat

A memoir-ique experience composed of flashbacks, tributes, stories, and essays.