A child’s laughter

The sight before her made her stop in tracks as she made the effort to change her course. By instinct, she brought her gaze to the ground as she moved quickly around them. She could feel her heart freezing over and body recoil as her mind processed the small flicker of images she had seen. It was the same every time.

As she side-stepped the scene, laughter filled the air and ricocheted in her ears. The same sound again, breaking her furry of thoughts and causing her to cease movement. Her head turned as she gravitated towards the source of the sound, resisting against the cries of her mind and body to run.

They were huddled together closely, so engrossed in each other that the outside world did not exist. She was able to watch silently from the side line, unnoticed. She knew she should walk away, stop tormenting herself but her feet stayed grounded. She remained, captivated by the two of them playing. The little girl shrieked in laughter as she broke away from her companion, willing him to chase her. “Let’s go fight the dragons” they cried in unison as they ran around with each other, mimicking the actions of solders.

She stood watching for a long time, lost with them in their world of princes, dragons and princesses. Their energy and happiness radiated from them, almost tangible. For a moment she was able to forget… Forget the pain, the tears and the sadness. Able to transport herself into their world of make belief and innocence, a place that was not tainted by tragedy.

Awakening from the spell, she realised her hand her drifted down to her tummy. She pulled it away in haste, suddenly angry at herself for indulging in such a moment. Desperate to escape, she started to make her retreat but her path was blocked. They had seen her. “Why are you crying?” Their little voices questioned. She stood looking down at their pleading eyes, unable to answer. “Would you like to be our queen?” they asked, before she had a chance for the panic to paralyse her, the little blonde boy with the blue eyes took her hand and led her away.

She played, danced and giggled until her belly hurt from the laughter. She had forgotten what it was like to smile and laugh. It had been so long. Soon she heard the mothers of the children calling them in.  So away they went, back to their homes, back to their mothers. Night had fallen and the stars were starting to shine. As she continued her walk home, for the first time, she blew a kiss to the one star that shone slightly brighter than the rest.

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