Addy sat on the bench sipping hot cocoa and people-watching. Today the sun was bright and the air was still and crisp. It was one of the nicest days of autumn and Addy thought she might as well enjoy it. She watched as a group of little girls ran around the playground laughing their heads off and she couldn’t help but smile. This was something she had always taken for granted. The easy laughter that came with being among friends.
Then Addy glanced over at her little sister, Lizzy, who was sitting on the swing set, alone. The move had been tough, but it had been the worst for her shy little Lizzy. Addy threw away the paper cup and strode over to her sister. “So, why didn’t you ask those girls if you could play with them?” she questioned her gently. Lizzy looked at her and started fumbling over her explanation. “I-i tried to a-ask but t-they did-n’t notice m-me so I chickened o-out.” Then she started crying.
Addy knelt down and hugged the sobbing girl to her chest. For a while Addy just sat there holding her, stroking her back and letting her cry. Lizzy had a heart of glass; it was beautiful and precious, but fragile and easy to crack. After a while her cries dissolved into soft hiccups, and Addy pulled her into one last hug before releasing her. Upon close inspection Lizzy’s eyes were a little puffy, but she seemed fine for now. Then Addy checked the time and, realizing it was almost sunset, took her by the hand and together they walked back home.
Addy used her key to get into the house and flopped onto the couch, mentally exhausted from the day. Together the girls waited until their parents got home. The girls’ mom started making dinner and the sad atmosphere began to ebb away. Later, they turned on a movie and crammed onto the sofa to watch the movie. Here she was happy. Surrounded by her family knowing that no matter what, here she would always belong.