The house was finally still. I turn back to the last few pages of my book hoping to escape reality a bit longer. That’s when I see them.
Her caramel colored eyes gazing deep into her yearbook as she sits cross-legged on the edge of my bed. Her hands gently hold the soft cover as she turns each page. She escapes into the images of friends, teachers and a swath of smiling, unmasked faces.
She gasps excitedly every time she spies a close friend among the first day of school collages or Halloween parade photos. She absently rubs the portraits of her favorite teachers, parents and friends with her fingers as she tells me a story she’s etched into her memory.
I watch as she searches intently for more friends, their siblings and other characters in her stories. I listen with tempered anticipation as my mind is overcome with images of what should have been.
I hear the magic in her voice and my heart aches. What moments of the last year will etch themselves into her memory?
Will she look back on these ‘unprecedented times’ with fondness or will she lament lost memories with friends?
My heart aches.