Written by Cameron Waltz.
Graphic by Emma Robinson.
A Warm Embrace
I hold him close. Don’t leave me for the World yet. You’re far too young to leave my arms. The great, wide world is one of danger and loss. I tug you back to rest, but you won’t let me hold you down. I wish I could keep you back, but I know I can’t stop you. Just be careful today and know that you can always come back home to find me when you’re tired.
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Poor boy. He’s come home looking glum. It seems that today was as I predicted, too long for him. What could it be this time? Scrapes on his knees, dust on his cheeks—perhaps the doing of his classmates at school. Oh no. His clothes too? So stained and worn, but I won’t let that keep him from me. As he walks into the room he falls into my arms and whispers to me. His words are muffled, but his tone is clear. He’s come home in tears.
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Close your eyes, my boy. Rest in my arms tonight. You have them as long as you need them. The day was long but this evening will be sweet. I may not be able to mend your heart in one night, but I can start with your scrapes. Day by day, night by night, I’ll help you heal your heart. In your dreams, you will see your friend again. The world outside is both warm and cold, but the time you have inside is for your peace. Rest now. Tomorrow, you will take on the world once more.
In Those Same Branches
I’m awake, but I’m attached to my bedsheets. It’s hard to leave the warm soft hug of my blanket as it pulls my mind back to sleep. But then I sit up straight in bed, it’s the third of October! Today is Daphne’s day! Daphne—my neighbor and best friend—moves tomorrow but I made her promise to save today for me. For our last day together, we spent it in our place—the tree.
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As the top of the hill, in the boughs of a lonely oak where we spent our first day, and in those same branches, we spent our last. We met playing a game. We each climbed branch by branch to see who could go the highest. Today, I was finally going to win.
At the top of the tree, I dared to summit the branch neither of us dared to climb. Daphne warned me not to, but she held my hand as I attempted the climb. One step, then another.
Then in a moment, my feet left the branch and her hand slipped from mine. Down, I soared. I felt the wind beneath my chest, followed by the ground on my knees as I started to tumble down the hill. Daphne came dashing down to help me find my missing limbs but she found me laughing at the foot of the hill. “Let’s do it again!” I said. And we run up the hill to roll down together.
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I cried as I walked home. As I entered my bedroom, I was so exhausted that I fell straight into my bed. I couldn’t help but be hurt for what I loved and lost. I spoke into my pillow in sorrow, “The best day ever may never come again.” I fell asleep.
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