She didn’t laugh or smile though, even as the sunlight danced over the water. She didn’t laugh as she saw the squirrels as they ran past, hopping from the ground into a tree, one following the other and jumping to and fro through the branches as if they could almost fly. She barely saw them. She just stared into the hole, waiting for the voices that would come for her.She thought she heard a voice, somewhere off into the distance, calling her name over and over. It sounded like her Aunt Prissy, but she couldn’t be sure. The sound of the creek filled her ears and rushed away all the other sounds of the forest. She blinked, looking to the side, wondering if she should lift her body up, stand tall, and go back, but she couldn’t. She felt safe here, her toes squishing in her shoes, her wet skirt clinging to her legs. She didn’t feel safe back there, no not there with all those people holding their little clear plates filled with tiny sandwiches and spoonfuls of macaroni salad. The little clear cups were filled with foul smelling liquid that made the breath of the adults stink and their eyes gloss over as they laughed on a day which should have no laughter, then cried with big crocodile tears.They weren’t real tears, not like the tears her daddy had shed, his eyes rimmed red as the clear, liquidity brimmed up over the edge until it fell in a quick hot stream down his cheek. The same tear had rolled down his cheek over and over, every time she caught him by himself. Every time he took to the stairs and walked heavily into the basement, the smell of shaven wood in the air hanging like a shroud around him as she crept down the first few steps and was able to see him as he stroked his fingers over his nose to hold back the wet evidence of his sorrow. She always just frowned, her own heart cold and lost in this new world. She hadn’t shed a single tear.Her little heart didn’t know how to express what she felt. She didn’t feel the deep, lonely sorrow that her daddy felt. That feeling was just too big for her to feel. The word forever had been used; she had heard the words ‘gone forever‘, but that concept didn’t mean too much to her as it was always easy to fix it when something was over - you just started it again. When the movie was over, or the song was over, you just pushed the button and it was playing once again, the whole experience repeated. So, she couldn’t understand how anything could be gone forever if all you had to do
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