I create for the sake of creating. I create because I need to. I was inspired one day leaving therapy, as I remembered where we all come from. We come from children. Children who deserve to be protected and free. Children who believe in tomorrow. I went home and I wrote this short story…this snap shot. I hope you enjoy!
It was in that moment, with perfect clarity, that I could see all that we would have been. What we would have conquered had it not all been stolen away. I could see the children we were when our parents protected us and innocence was written on our faces, before war ravaged our land.
He’s smiling at me like I am the sun after months of rain. I feel a yank on my arm and my hand is spirited away to chase butterflies. So swiftly and lightly we run through the tall grass and I hear music. I hear the music of our little kid laughter. It chimes like bells and squeals with delight.
There’s no purple and blue on those little faces. No scars around their ankles. They are free and untouched. I feel a warmth around my shoulders as his arm settles there. I turn my face towards his and he whispers, his breath tickling my ear, “I’ll race you to the top.” Before he can take a step toward our castle, I stick out my leg and hear a “whoomp” as he topples to the hard, dirt ground. “You’re on” I say and take off for our tree, our mighty castle.
My long golden hair is streaming behind me, my dress a blur of red in the wind, my lungs are full as I breathe in and out. The air is dancing and whirring, and above all that noise, I can hear him gaining. With a thud we reach the tree at the same time, and for the briefest second, our eyes meet: the grey in mine seeing the blue in his, and he winks. His mouth slightly curves up on the right and then I find myself in a heap on the group. He pushed me!
“Ha ha, two can play that game Muir! Catch me if you can!” He yells as he shimmies up the tree grabbing each branch to pull himself up. Lucky for me I’m faster. I begin to climb. My hands run over the bark, and I notice its smooth from years of climbing. This tree knows my hands and feet better than anyone I think to myself, and I know this tree better than anyone too. Sweat is dripping down my nose, my red dress is turning brown as dirt smears all over it. I’m going to get in trouble when I get home, but I can’t let him win. I stop climbing and instead start swinging. Like a monkey, I leap from branch to branch using my arms like ropes. As he sees me gaining on him, his belt loop snags. It was the small window I needed and I climb over him using his own shoulder as a step. He grunts with agitation and then joins me in our tower.
Air moves in and out of our lungs as we try to regain a normal breathing rhythm. The moisture on his face grabs his hair and won’t let go. I know I don’t look much better, but up here, no one cares. As we sit down and I watch my legs dangle at the top of the tree, we eat from our secret stash. It once housed toffees, and caramels, but now it only contains nuts and seeds. He pops them in the air and we try catching them with our mouths. I’m feeding the birds with how many I catch. Looking out over our little world he says “I like sitting on top of the world with you.” The smile that splits my face is like gold. In that moment with him, we were kings and queens, and we can do anything.
The vision leaves just as fast as it entered my mind, but I can’t forget. I can’t stop seeing us, and what we could have been, could have felt. Now I remember what I’m fighting for. I remember who I am fighting for and she is worth it. Yes, they are worth it.