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It wasn't meant to scare her.


She didn't expect it, of course, but no one does.


She didn't ask for it, but most don't.


She was just like the rest of them in those respects.


But there was something we all missed.


Should I have seen it?


I suppose. After all, I did spend considerably more time with her than everyone else did. They found her odd, and I found her presence comforting. I'm sure she wouldn't appreciate being compared to an old, worn quilt, but I hold quilts in the highest regard. They're like family. And of course, she truly was my family. Maybe that was it. Maybe I felt a familial obligation to her. But I wouldn't tell her that either.


Maybe she was just frightened by the novelty of it all. New frontiers can be terrifying. We all know this. We should have been more understanding. Why weren't we more understanding? It was so new to her. Hadn't it been new to all of us, once? No one is born into this. I certainly wasn't. I worked hard for it. She didn't ask for it, as so many don't, but I'd watched her work for it too.


Perhaps she was happy with her life as it was.


 


No, that couldn't be. How could she have been happy?


She wasn't happy, I'm sure of it. She never smiled. I'd watched her often enough. But then her head was so often bent over a book or a blank page, so it was difficult to tell.


 


Perhaps we interrupted her plans. Maybe that's what she ran away to.


We always thought we were better than her. It was never stated, but it was always implied in the way we'd watch her out of the corner of our eyes. I emulated the behavior of my peers for fear of losing what I'd worked so hard to gain, but I regret that now. I should have followed her. Maybe I still can.


 


Maybe acceptance scared her so much because it surprised her. She never expected it, not from us. She must have nearly had a heart attack when I asked her to join our circle.


I shouldn't have just asked her to join, like it was some casual thing. It was a big deal to her. I didn't treat it like one.


 


I caught her off guard, so she went with her instincts. She ran.


 

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