Alternate Title: Before

The year I turned five they sent me to run an errand. Perhaps I was supposed to get a stick of butter or pick up that book the neighbor borrowed or tell them we needed to use the party line. I don’t remember the exact errand but I remember dawdling on my way home, kicking the dirt and pausing to pick up colorful stones. I remember arriving back home and being informed that it was bedtime. I complained and dragged my feet. The day had gone too fast. How could it be over?

But it was time and I was quickly whisked off to my dark room where my best friends in the world lay in wait. I remember flipping on the lights and being completely shocked to see them sit up quickly, giggling and shouting. I was overwhelmed wondering how they managed to surprise me. The next moment is framed in my memory like a moving picture – three flushed, excited little girls, tucked tightly in a twin bed, laughing; living only in that second. Nothing else mattered. No one stopped to contemplate what would come next or how our lives would unfold. No one felt the need to analyze the details of our emotions. We were just five years old, uncomplicated and joyfully celebrating next to the ones we loved most. I felt loved and important and safe.


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