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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.

An Account

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 of land.

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

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