The day seemed not to notice her. The Sun made no slight dimming and brightening to announce her release into the world. The winds did not gather about and spin her in-stride as she ran through the bluegrass and rye of the great green field across the street from her home. The sky remained soaked in the same clear Azure she knew.
But someone was taking note as Emmie neared the little wood at the center of the park.
Emmie walked. Sometimes skipped a step or two. Sometimes bent to retrieve a likely stick along the woodchip path meandering to the foot bridge. She bounded up the bridge’s two rough-hewn, worn to gray, pine-board stairs.
Often it was little more than a gully, but today the stream ran strong, which was why Emmie was there. She toed the bottom crosspiece of the bridge’s picket fence and hooked her arms around the crowning crosspiece and pitched the stick up-river. Then she unhooked her arms, jumped down and darted to the downriver railing. She hung from her armpits, waiting.
The stick arrived – neither pausing to accept praise nor express its thanks – and continued navigating the fickle currents until Emmie could no longer track it.
This she did again.
And again until she was out of sticks, which arrived just as she wearied of playing. As if the sticks’ counsel had been sought in the devising of the game.
And her armpits hurt, too.
She leapt off the bridge and sometimes running sometimes skipping all times singing continued down the woodchip path. It traced a wobbly U through the little woods so that when she reemerged into the sunlight she would be facing home.
Emmie finally noticed who had been watching her. She had been standing near the bridge while Emmie played. She didn’t need to hide to be invisible; she could will it. She stepped from the shadows, muscles tracing sinuous grace, to stand in the woodchip path blocking Emmie’s way.
“Now what will you do,” asked the grey wolf. Continue reading