The child within

She stood at a distance watching the little girl.  The child sat on a swing.  It was an old wooden swing with weathered and knotted rope, it hung from the branch of an tall, old tree.  She sat on the swing in the dappled shade of the tree in the sand dunes with her back to the sea.  A childhood idyll.  The late afternoon sun warmed her back.  The little girl wore a beautiful, old fashioned cotton dress with big tea roses printed on it, she wore white ankle socks, her kicked off red sandals lay off at a distance.  Her hair was tied up in bunches, stiff with salt from having spent a day on the beach.  She was beautiful.

The woman gazed at the child for some time lost in her own thoughts.  The child kicked her legs in a carefree way,  one leg at a time so that she went from side to side twisting on the swing. Almost casually she looked up and caught sight of the woman.  She looked up self consciously at first and then gave the woman a beaming smile as if she knew her.  The woman slowly approached the girl her heart racing.  She knew this child from a very long time ago.  She had forgotten about her.  She felt tears pricking her eyes.   These were tears of recognition, of love, of forgiveness.  She felt she was coming home with each step she took towards the child.  She stopped just in front of the little girl, close enough to breathe in her scent, it was so familiar.  For a moment she felt overwhelmed with all the thoughts rushing through her head.  She had so much to say, to explain, to want to tell and ask this little child yet in a moment realised that words were irrelevant.  She had felt all she needed to feel.  She held the gaze of the child.  She gazed into her eyes and their eyes together told the story.

The girl without taking her eyes off the woman told her that all was well, she was happy, she was loved, that she would always be with her and always love her.  And then quick as a flash the little girl leapt off the swing, gathered up her sandals, ran off down towards the beach calling after the woman ” Can’t catch me………”


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