/   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
September/October 2007

Erik Dinardo
Hope looking at a horse

He sat there for what seemed like an eternity

The wind whistled against his head as the leaves blew in a cyclone and rain threatened with a distant rumble of thunder. The man turned, his black overcoat flapping. Walking slowly away, he hoped his memories would not be blown away as the dry brittle grass. His hand felt empty and cold without her small hand gripping his. The streets were empty as he boarded the bus. Staring out of the window the man could almost hear her voice pointing out anything that her little eyes could see. The voice faded as the bus abruptly came to a halt, and the cracked and broken voice of a driver said, “End of the line.” He got slowly up, his back bringing pains that did not hurt around her. Climbing down the stairs he saw with his hazy eyes a candy shop where they always used to get her favorite candy, licorice. As he moved closer he realized all the windows were cobwebbed with boards and tape showing that he was not welcome here. Moving a little farther he came to a park where she used to immediately pull his arm to the garden and jump into the flowers until a smiling park ranger told her to get out. But now all that remained as the old man hobbled up was the cold hard dirt, an old torn-up magazine, and one withered flower. He bent down to pick the last beautiful memory, when a sharp wind flew through the trees and snatched the flower in its fearsome jaws. It continued to howl until the man shuffled away, taking shelter in a gazebo that looked to be a thousand years old. There in front of him was a merry-go-round. The wind pushed it around and around and every time it turned a white horse, now faded gray, brought the laughter of a small girl with it. He sat there for what seemed like an eternity until the laughter faded from his mind. He got up and walked against the wind, his face seeming like an old grape. Leaving the park he entered a subway and bought a ticket for the next train, not caring where it went. Sitting down, he imagined picking her up so she could grab with her small fingers the holding bars and squeak in her delighted voice, “I’m Tarzan.” Then everyone would look up from his or her newspaper and laugh. But no one was on the train today and a single tear full of emotions fell from his eye. He emerged from the subway and he walked on, in front of him a ray of light broke through the clouds.

Hope Erik Dinardo

Erik Dinardo, 13
Carlisle, Massachusetts

Hope Susannah Benjamin

Susannah Benjamin, 13
Greenwich, Connecticut

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