Outside my door the world is a wasteland of grit, and grime, and poverty, and misery. The businesses are closing, and the air is thick with the kind of dust that blows only in places where people have lost hope. The sidewalk is in a state of disrepair. There is an ancient oak tree on this street that I call the Drinking Tree because wanderers stop there to finish off their pints of liquor and toss the bottles underneath the tree like offerings at an altar. Cigarette butts and paper cups tossed from the cars of passersby litter the way. The weeds are in charge of this street. But somehow I have managed to create a little island of happiness for myself. Every evening, when the sun goes down and the shadows come out, my little boy and I hold hands and walk down this street. We talk about things that are important to two year old boys -- bugs, and trees and ABCs. "You're my best friend in the whole world, Momma," he tells me as he looks up into my eyes smiling broadly. I give his tiny hand a little squeeze. "You're my best friend in the whole world too, Malcolm."