The heat of the sun rubbed against Mia’s face. Her head rested on the front lawn; her feet slightly flexed. She tapped the outside of her big toes together and gazed up at the cloud-filled sky.
Birds sang in the neighbor’s maple tree, but not just any song; they sang a familiar song.
Mia peeked over at a blue dress laying flat on the grass next to her. It was at least twice her size. She gazed at the imprint of her hand lost in the oversized pocket. A caramel candy, still wrapped, lay at the bottom.
A voice escaped from the blue dress, joining the birds in unison. Caramel scented breath filled the air and paralyzed Mia.
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For a moment she felt another hand enter the pocket and intertwine with her own. Nails trimmed short with a fresh coat of polish painted on each finger. This was her hand.
These familiar fingers once braided Mia’s hair, once tickled her belly and tied her shoes just tight enough. Mia knew this hand, and it belonged in this dress resting on the grass.
Once again, everything was normal.
Children on bicycles rolled past, pointing and giggling.
Mia’s body grew tense. But that tune continued to play.
Mia swallowed the lump in her throat as a reassuring squeeze came from the pocket. She grinned.
The children laughed louder now, their breathy scoffs poisoning the air.
But the song combated the scoffs as the tune played faster.
A wind picked up, silencing the little mocking voices. The bicycle pedals reacted to the breeze, circling themselves forward.
Mia closed her eyes, her grin never leaving her round, freckled face.
Laughter turned in to panic, as the children lost control. They jerked the handlebars but the wind carried them farther down the road. Down a straight, narrow path.
Slowly the breeze let up, and the children rolled away, their screams rolling with them.
The tune slowed to a hum, and the scent of caramel drifted off.
Mia’s grin never twitched, it never fell. Those familiar fingers made themselves known again, loosening their grip… but they wouldn’t let go.