Things grow small


I sit on the dock watching the water flap at my feet, thinking my friends who went north today.

Mommy tells me they wonít be back until spring, which makes me want to cry.

They are never the same when they come back.

And over the winter, I try to picture their faces in my mind so I can see them and remember them, but I never do.

They all look like strangers to me each year, always a little smaller than I remember and they never remember me.

Mommy tells me they forget because they have so much to do while theyíre away.

Yet there must be another reason.

Mommy always tries to make me feel better about little things Ė like when I saw on my tricycle one day and it no longer fit.

I still donít understand how such a thing could shrink so much after I have owned it for so long.

Other things grow smaller, too.

Like my favorite shirt and sneakers.

And it makes me sad when I have to give them up or have them break because they grow to small to fit me any more or cannot stand up under me when I sit on them.

Even the rooms of the bungalow where I live with Mommy seems to grow smaller each time Spring comes around again.

I used to think the porch door seemed so high, now I barely fit under it.

Even my birthday cake seems smaller, though mommy is careful to put the same number of candles on it each year, eight candles for eight years, she says, though each year it is easier for me to blow them all out.

Lately, mommy seems worried, telling me that soon my friends wonít come back from the north at all, that they will grow too small so that their mommies and daddies will be too afraid I might hurt them.

Soon, I wonít even be here either if she can get up the money to send me to a place where people and things donít grow smaller and smaller, and people know how to take care of someone like me.

When this will happen, mommy wonít say.

She just cried when I ask and offers me more cake to keep me from crying, too.

I donít want to leave this place.

I like the water and the picnic tables, and the fishing boats that sail out to see in the morning and come back from the sea at night.

I even like the place when it grows cold and chases all my little friends away.

I tell mommy I never want to leave her or here, and wish everyday could be summer, and she says she wishes for that, too.

Yet she warns me that someday she wonít be able to handle me any more, that she will grow smaller, older and frail, so that I might break her by accident the way I break other things.

This makes me cry, too.

I never want to hurt her.

Even by accident.

But I canít help notice how small she seems already, and much smaller she gets each time she cries, even in summer.



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