Emmie hung from the railing by her armpits, watching her twig navigate the listless currents of the stream. Four of its predecessors had snagged themselves on a mat of branches by a Y in the stream.
“Come on. Come on.”
The twig caught itself in the tangle. Emmie sighed. Then she looked up. Someone was singing.
The light voice rose and fell amidst the breathing cadence of the woods. She tossed her fist of twigs over the railing and ran off the bridge following the stream, sometimes retreating to the woodchip path when the underbrush became too thick.
The woods were attached to the great green field across street from her home, and all of it resided within a large municipal park. A row of houses bordered the woods’ eastern edge; a branch of the stream flowed behind their back yards. Emmie stood on its embankment and peered into one of these backyards.
A girl about her age was idling on a swingset facing her house, singing.
The girl didn’t know all the lyrics. When she came to a line she couldn’t recall she half mumbled/half hurried past it. Continue reading →
Esmeralda held her father’s hand crossing the street in front of the great green field. She stepped onto the curb and let go – her father tried to hang on, but Emmie won – and sprinted through the field sloping to the stream that fed the wide pond beyond the trees.
Emmie toed the polished stones in the stream’s bed to make sure they would not move as she stepped from one to the other, the cold current flowing around them. When she felt unsure she put up her left hand, her eyes still studying the stones. Her father’s hand was there to steady her. He kept pace on the bank. Emmie withdrew her hand when her confidence returned. She continued on her path of stones until the stream widened, meeting the pond. She stopped on the last stone, raised her arms and her father swung her onto the grassy bank. She ran along the pond’s raised embankment to their favorite spot. Her father followed, walking. Carrying the bread.
Emmie waited on a wide white embankment-stone a couple of feet above the pond’s surface. As soon as they saw her, they would come. She was Esmeralda. Continue reading →