She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. It’ll be alright. You got this, Theory. It’s just one day. You can make it one day. She pushed her glasses up on her nose, grabbed her backpack and went downstairs. She picked a muffin from the counter, kissed her dog Heath, and walked outside. The single tree in her front yard was turning a deep amber yellow. Fall was her favorite season. She tugged her jacket a little closer, and as she walked to her bus stop, leaves swirled around her converse clad feet.
She’d chosen red ones this year: bright and quirky. Each time she wore them, they made her smile. Her mama had loved converse, and bought her a new pair every year before school started. Red had been her favorite color.
I wish you were here, Mama.
She had been nine years old when it happened. She still wore her tiny star necklace everyday, the soft weight of it on her neck, comforting her. It had been three years, but as she had learned, time doesn’t make you miss someone less. If anything, it makes you realize how much they meant to you. How much of your life was wrapped in theirs. She missed her with every bone in her body. She missed her soft brown hair, her laugh, her smell. She missed her stories. Theory opened her notebook, the one her mom had written in before she went to the hospital. She had given it to her for her ninth birthday making her promise to write her own stories in it. She opened to the first page and read:
“You are a star, Theory. Never forget that. Never forget to be brave, and kind. You will have days where you want to run away from the world, as it can be unkind. You will be scared and you will want to give up. But don’t run, my love. Don’t quit. Stay put. Keep going. Be brave. They’ll need you. Don’t hide your light from them, star.”
Theory wiped her eyes and shoved the notebook back in her bag. She pressed her hand to her necklace and wondered how long the hole would exist within her. She heard the distant squeal of the bus wheels and stood slowly to her feet. She squared her shoulders and picked up her bag. She took a deep breath and whispered, “Thanks, mama.”
And then, as bravely as she could, she walked up the steps.
Happy almost weekend. ××