- James looked
out the window. Shelle was feeding and playing with Lindy's horse
and she was red-cheeked and pale because of the cool weather,
but she was happily giggling and waving her crutches as the horse
licked her fingers in trying to eat the red apple she held out.
He smiled to himself and started to clean the house. He dusted
everything, washed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher,
picked up the various odds and ends that had piled up and then
went around the house to collect laundry. He went up to Shelle's
room to look for her dirty clothes and left the ones he had collected
by the door. Her suitcases were open and placed out of the way
on the floor and a pile of clothes was in a laundry basket next
to her bed. Her bed was made; the room was neat. Except for one
thing. She had papers strewn across the floor and bed, with a
pencil here and there. He knelt down and picked up one and as
he read the first line, he felt himself fall into the writing.
It wasn't supposed to be that way. It was supposed to be that
she got on a plane and flew there, encountering many difficulties,
but she had a few, which were enough for her. First, she had
to secure the ticket and pay for it. She also had to talk her
way into getting to the airport and picking it up with an adult
signature. She had to lie to her parents, which she didn't like
doing, so she could get away on her mission.
But what she didn't realize was that she could have told her
parents. It wouldn't have done much, but maybe they would have
let her do what she wanted. She boarded the plane and landed
in alien territory, though she already knew that it was a part
of her. She found a small room at a hotel and let herself in,
exhausted, and fell asleep, so eager to bring happiness into
someone else's life that she had forgotten about her own.
James blinked. Shelle had told him the story of her trip
before, but somehow, her writing brought out something else.
It was almost as though everything had been hard for the child,
but he stopped thinking and read on.
When the girl awoke, fully refreshed, she had breakfast in
the dining room, alone under many watchful eyes. She then relied
on word of mouth to get her to the person she had come for; the
person who needed companionship, not loneliness, as he stayed
alone in his country house, separated from everyone by miles
When she got to his estate, there was still much land to cover
before she would reach the house itself. She walked for a long
time, stopping occasionally to eat, drink, or rest. Within sight
of the house, her mind floated above herself, forgetting that
her feet needed to be guided. She slipped in a puddle and twisted
her ankle. Pain cut through her as she lost consciousness. And
all she could think of before her eyes closed was,
"What if he turns me away?"
Reading the second sentence of the whole thing told him that
it was about him and Shelle. He felt a sort of proud embarrassment.
What had she gone through to be at his side? He didn't know,
just as she didn't know everything about him and Lindy, which
was okay. He read everything and found that there were stories
and last-minute thoughts, drawings and story plots. Shelle Stanley
really was a real writer, he was thinking. He put everything
back in order when he had finished, not knowing how she would
react if she knew he had read her things, but pocketed a full-colour
sketch of a dress.
He left her room with more than just her laundry. He left with
a part of her he hadn't really known before; he left knowing
who she really was from the depths of her writings.
© Lissa Michelle Supler
- Background and pearly stars courtesy
of Moira's Web Jewels