Just a Child (1)

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The wind whistles lightly overhead, and she revels in the crisp fall air. Shivering slightly, she hugs her denim jacket even closer to herself, watching her breath materialize before her in wispy mist. The sound of birds chirping happily fill her ears, and she's content to remain there, soaking the moment in.

So she does, for a while anyway.

Then, she returns to herself, crunching atop dead leaves and kneeling down beside the large oak tree. The earth is cold and hard beneath her bare fingertips, and the grass that covers it is just beginning to shrivel up and die. Furrowing her brows, she pushes deeper into the dirt, attempting to push back the rough soil.

She pauses for a moment. Maybe she shouldn't do this. Maybe she should just leave that part of her childhood to rest.

Hesitating with her hands nestled in the dirt, she finally pulls them back, shifting her position a bit so she can sit. She leans back against the trunk of the strong oak, sighing to herself.

Yes... Maybe that part of her is better left untouched and pure, unaltered and unmarred by adult thought and reasoning. The curiosity inside, though, is clawing at her desperately, begging to be sated.

What a silly idea it was... A dream box, a time capsule of sorts, buried beneath the earth for a future generation to discover. They'd been mere children when they decided to do this all those years ago. Even now, she can still hear her best friend emphatically declaring that they had to do it... For science, he said.

Naturally, she and her brother agreed, placing a few of their most treasured items into the little wooden dream box.

The memory is still so vivid that she can see it now in her mind's eye.

Her best friend had placed a pair of plastic pilot's wings he'd gotten on the first flight he'd ever been on. It exhilerated him, she knew, and he desperately wanted to become a pilot so he could experience the thrill of flying as often as he could. Now, he's a whole country away, pursuing his long-coveted pilot's license.

A sigh escapes her lips, her heart sinking a little deeper in her chest. She misses him terribly. She attempts to clear her head once more, digging deeper into the dirt, uprooting a few stray strands of grass in the process.

Her brother, on the other hand, unceremoniously dumped his trusty electronics kit into the box. He knew exactly what he wanted, even then. He would become a successful engineer if it was the last thing he did. Now, he's working his tail off, trying to earn his electrical engineering degree. Although he's a bit of a mess, she knows that he'll make it. He'll do the family proud.

Twisting the tiny blades of grass between her fingers, she can't help but wonder if he ever stops to think about her, despite his studies and breadboarding.

She gives a small laugh, her shoulders heaving lightly. How ironic. She can remember the exact items her best friend and brother placed into the dream box and picture exactly how it happened, but... She can't quite recall what she put into the dream box herself.

What lies buried beneath her feet, a relic from her ancient past? Is she any closer toward reaching the dreams she carried in her heart when she was younger?

A reminiscent smile plays about her lips as she closes her eyes, picturing the cool summer breeze... contagious peals of laughter... games of tag by the lake... hide and seek in the forest... The days of her youth have gone, lost in the murkiness and drudgery of adult life.

No... They're not gone, not truly. Both her youth and her childhood friends are tucked away safe, in the corners of her heart where only she can find them and they can find her.

She pats the hard ground beside her, sighing deeply as she looks up at the wispy clouds. The dreams of her youth may have not yet come true, and her days may be cruel and unforgiving at times.

But her life is a gift, and she lives every day to its fullest, always fondly recalling the times when she was just a child.

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⏰ Last updated: Sep 18, 2020 ⏰

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