Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

    Angelica sat upon the large, dark, damp circle not too far from the water’s edge. She had expected to wade into the water to find the glistening treasure box of shells again, but here they all were, gathered strangely and almost dry, as if waiting for her to come and sit quietly, to seek and sort and sift. This time, the sun did not sparkle onto the tiny jewels, bringing out of them the radiant fire of colour and the sparkling illusion of life. The sky was grey, a reflection of her own dimly lit soul, for she had just learned that she was very sick again and fat drops of rain threatened to fall in the place of the self-pitying tears she refused to cry.

    The tiny shells, thousands of them, formed a cushion around and beneath her. She unclasped the silver chain around her neck, with its shiny Friendship Tree medallion, diamond butterfly, sparkly pink rose and the long dragonfly charm set with small square pink stones, all reminding her of the dear friends who had so often been within arm’s reach, those she cherished the most. But today she sat on the beach alone, searching for those shells that were special, pretty and strong enough to be threaded onto her silver chain.

    ‘When I am trying to recover, to beat this illness again,’ she explained to herself, ‘this will be my way of keeping the ocean close to my heart, giving me life and strength.’ She knew that it would be a very long time before she would be well enough to dive again beneath the nearby pier that seemed now to fade into a distant fog before her. ‘No, I will not be here with you,’ she sighed to the ocean, ‘So I must take part of you there with me,’ and she searched and sorted and selected those tiny, treasured trinkets that would carry all the fullness of the ocean inside them around her neck.

    ‘Did you think I wouldn’t come?’ a sweet voice spoke softly behind her. And looking up she saw the beautiful girl in the flowing red dress move like a dream towards her, an unexpected sadness in her eyes. The girl was older than she had ever been before, full of elegance, grace and understanding that had somehow come through transcending all the trials and suffering of the past. ‘How she inspires me,’ Angelica breathed, rather than whispered, and instinctively she held out the silver chain, asking the girl to ‘Choose’. Carefully the girl with rubies for eyes perused the small collection on the chain and selected a pearly shell with a soft pink hue.

    ‘I will take this one to remember you by,’ the beautiful girl smiled, ‘But in its place, you must take these two.’ And she threaded onto the chain a long, dark spiralled shell and one that was tiny and almost perfectly round, like a child’s plastic bead. ‘The first,’ she explained, ‘reminds you that your path will be dark and windy, but that you will never, ever walk it alone. The second – ‘, she paused, as though hesitating to find the words, ‘will remind you that life is simpler than we sometimes think, and that when you see it through the eyes of a child, you realise that there is nothing to be feared.’

    A magic breeze blew gently across the water and up onto the shell-strewn circle, and with it the girl in the red dress carrying the scent of roses vanished and Angelica’s most magical friend, the white haired boy, appeared. ‘Please give me that shell there,’ he pointed to the chain, ‘For it is small but very strong, the same colour as my hair. And in its place, I leave you this – ‘, his eyes threatened to swell with rain, and indeed at that moment, a cold rain began to fall steadily and the boy in the long blue cloak dissolved from sight. Angelica looked down into the palm of her hand where he seemed to have placed an intricately folded note on pale blue paper.

    Her first instinct was to open it, to see what magical words would be written inside, but then she knew without doubt that this paper must never be unfolded. Standing carefully, for it pained her now to lift her body up from the dark, shell-encrusted circle on which she sat, she moved with all the courage she could muster down towards the water’s edge where she sent the tiny paper boat out on its unfathomable journey. She watched as it bobbed, threatening to be overcome by the smallest wave, then surfaced again to travel the length of the misty pier, almost disappearing from view.

    ‘What’s that?’ she heard the smallest voice beside her, then felt a tiny hand reaching up to hold her own. Here was a child she had never seen before. A true child – maybe five years old, with long dark hair and kind, mischievous eyes – not just a child in spirit. ‘I’m Autumn,’ the child explained, and as she spoke, her words smelled like the sweetest rain and falling leaves. ‘You are very sick and I have come to bring you joy.’ And despite the pain that gnawed at her body like a towel being wrung dry between one’s hands, Angelica reached down and lifted the child high into her arms, and they squeezed one another tightly that they might give each other strength that would last each of them their lifetimes.

    Setting her gently down again, their eyes locked them deeply together into tiny waves of laughter, like the ones that carried the paper boat off into its happy journey. Hand in hand, Angelica and Autumn ran from the water’s edge, the sound of the shells dangling around Angelica’s neck chiming like the ice in a sweet summer’s drink. Together they skipped away, away, up onto a rolling green hill where they collapsed together in a delightfully messy pile of the sweetest giggles. Angelica wrapped her arms around the child, feeling the strong, young heartbeat pounding blissfully against her own. Yes, she was tired and sick, and when she closed her eyes, she could almost believe that right now she was just a step or two from heaven.

    Angelica sighed, breathing in the crisp Autumn air, the nearby sea breeze and every sign that, at this very moment, she was still quite fully alive. It would be many months before she would be strong enough to return to the water’s edge, to search once more for tiny shells or to slide again beneath the long, misty pier like a bright fish, full of energy and possibilities. But for now, this one moment of life was enough, and she would take it like the shells around her neck with her into whatever the next moment might hold. She felt herself float and disappear like the tiny blue paper boat. It was no longer within her view, but she knew that it was still on its adventure into unknown waters and she determined, with everything within her, to see her voyage through to its mysterious, unknowable end.

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Ladybugs are strong and bold, perfectly round, utterly robust,
Able to lift tremendous weight with tiny, shiny wings.
Completely bright, bringing sheer delight whenever they appear –
A small and most beloved jewel, sparkling in the gardener’s sight.

Dragonflies are ethereal, their deep magic embossed on
Filigree of impossibly long, iridescent wings.
Appearing, disappearing, appearing again,
The ever-present Spirit trembling over still and troubled waters.

Butterflies flit upon the breeze as though no-one else can truly see their
Origami paint in flight, fluttering in the garden’s light.
Strength and frailty intertwined in such a fragile, bright surprise,
But butterflies are nothing without ladybugs and dragonflies.

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The young boy reached deep into his coat pocket and from it he took a single candle. He stared at it in the darkness and thought how much it reminded him of who he was. The night air was cold and overhead the clear night sky revealed the millions of stars that ever so softly lit everything around him. He thought for a moment, just as he always had and imagined that the stars were like a candle, burning bright, yet waiting to be extinguished in time. “Yes, stars, candles and small boys, they all had an ending,” he thought to himself. He sat quietly in the tree and looked for words that had been lost, as if by mistake, because surely they would not leave on purpose.

As he looked out through the branches of the tree, he could see the light from the Magic Forest, and he could hear the muted tones of singing and laughter. “Maybe that is where my friends are?” he thought once more, “yet more than likely not.” He took the candle and carefully placed it on the branch nearby, and then he lit its single wick so as to bring it to life. Momentarily it struggled to light, but then suddenly it came to life. The flame flickered and danced like a playful child, with the soft yellow glow playing upon the leaves within the tree. He dared not take it from here, because he knew that cold winds which would blow in that place away from the tree may extinguish it forever. Here in the tree it was safe, protected from all that may harm.

As he climbed down the tree, he gave one last look back into its branches and a smile fell upon his face as he watched with glee, the butterfly, ladybug and dragonfly mobiles almost come to life in the flickering of the light. He turned away from the tree and set out in search of his two friends. As he walked, he would stop momentarily to look into the night sky in the hope of seeing a shooting star upon which he may make a wish, and as he did the many colours of the Milky Way gleamed like a giant rainbow dotted with the tiny eyes of children. He smiled then wondered if somewhere his friends would be looking at the same stars as he, and if so, what were they thinking. He climbed the hill and made his way to the cliff top where he sat quietly looking out to sea in search of what it was he had lost.

She climbed the tree quickly, having seen the light from afar. The smile upon her face spoke of anticipation of seeing her friend who she had not seen for a while. She found the candle burning, yet there was no sign of the boy. Climbing the tree, into its highest branches she searched. The Book of Dreams was dusty and there were no recent words written. “Where has he gone?” she thought as she slumped onto her favourite spot in the tree. As she stared at the candle the light flickered ever so gently upon her face, as if it was his smile or the childish laughter she heard so often. She thought about the many times they had talked and all the wonders they had seen, then she wondered how it had been that she had not seen him for so long. Time was no longer her friend, yet he had always said that he would be regardless, and she wondered what sort of friend she had been in return. She bowed her head in deep thought, and then as the tiredness of her hectic life overcame her, she drifted off to sleep and dream.

The ocean sparkled under the stars, and the tiny ripples upon its surface rolled gently onwards, and onto the sand with the momentary sound of a thousand hands clapping at the end of a theatre show, before becoming silent once more until the next ripple came in. As he watched it was like lost children coming home from sea, “but then what of his friends?” he thought. Between each ripple he could ever so slightly make out a familiar sound. “La la la la la,” a playful tune that brought a smile to his face. It became louder with each passing wave that rolled in and as he looked along the beach, he could see her red shoes sparkle and her ruby lips, which surrounded her wide smile. He stood and waved frantically to his friend and in a while she saw him and stopped with her feet buried in the sand. As she stood there, she looked like a rose in full bloom, and on the beach of all places, but then that did not matter, it was her at last. She ran to where he stood and hugged him tightly. Secretly she loved the white haired boy, but then at the same time she dared not say it aloud because they were only children. Maybe if she did then he would return the words that he had longed to utter, but that would wait for another day, when they grew older.

They sat and watched the ocean and as they did, the moon rose from behind them painting everything in soft yellow glow, much like the candle he had left in the tree earlier. The sand dunes that surrounded them lit up like giant finger prints, from a giant’s hand. They talked about many things that they had come to enjoy together, the many thoughts they had shared and the dreams they had, all of which made them smile, and he did love to see her smile. They spoke about their friend whom they had not seen for so long, and their faces reflected a sadness not often seen. She was special to them both in her own different ways and they longed to play together once more. After a while they stood and the white haired boy reached into his coat pocket and from it he took some magic dust, which he cast to the gentle breeze where it sparkled like the stars in the sky. He made a wish and then they made their way through the tall grass, with it brushing against their tiny hands and whispering like a child’s voice, as they walked to the tree. The candle was still burning bright, with the rays of light reaching through the branches. Quietly and solemnly they climbed into the tree, where to their surprise they found their friend asleep, with the quietest of snores coming from her little mouth. Her eyes danced under her eyelids as she dreamed and she had her new pink shark tee shirt on. The candlelight danced joyfully as if celebrating the coming together of the three friends once more.

The two friends looked at one another and nodded, then ever so gently they blew from their lips the gentlest of breezes so the mobiles that dangled now danced in the candle light which flickered even more playfully upon their friends face. They watched in awe as a smile formed and she began to stir, before waking with a stretch and a yawn, and then a puzzled look as she watched her two friends giggling at what had just happened. They ran carefully along the branch and helped her up before giving her a big hug. They were laughing and smiling and just happy to see one another. “So where have you been?” they asked. She pouted as was her usually expression when she was about to disclose something she did not approve of, and then she responded. “They, kidnapped me, and took me away and ……….” Who, what?” asked the girl as she flicked back a piece hair that had fallen from the red bow that tied it. “The growed ups, they took me and they didn’t even let me ask you to come with us.” They smiled, because they thought much worse and were just happy to see her once more. “Maybe next time,” whispered the white haired boy, “or maybe we can go on an adventure all our own next time.” The girls nodded excitedly, because that would be fun.

Together at last, the white haired boy went to the Book of Dreams, and returned with it to write some words in, just as they used to.


As we sit here in the tree,

Bathed in candle light,

We think of times we used to have,

As we dream into the night.


Adventures we are yet to take,

Together as friends three,

As minds will carry far beyond,

The safety of the tree.


The wonders that will one day be,

The dreams that come to play,

They all await for us to take,

Together once again.


So here we sit and here we stay,

Three children friendships bound,

Friendship strong and pure indeed,

The best one ever found.


They knew that their friendship was strong and it had stood many tests. They knew that the girl with the pink bows in her hair had much to do that the grownups did, but they always knew that inside of her was a child and it would always be. The tree was theirs together and they would always wait as one or two for all to come when they could, never judging, but always encouraging so that life was made simpler to enjoy.

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As she continued to sink into the coldness that had all consumed her, with her vision blurred and her heart slowly beating to a stop, she felt a warm familiar gentle touch upon her hand, then upon the other one. She had come to stop mid water and with what strained vision she had, she could just make out the outlines of two small figures. She felt herself being raised gradually through the water and the pressure around her subsided like a weight lifted off her.
Then as the light broke through the waters surface streaming like tiny fingers taking hold, she could make out a flash of white that swayed in the water like delicate seaweed, and as she turned her head the most beautiful red glow was reflected in the beams of light that were now reaching deep below. A smile formed upon her near lifeless face as the realization of what was happening washed over her. 
When she reached the surface the fierce storm and the rough ocean that had engulfed her had gone, the water was so calm and so flat reflecting like a mirror her tired face, which looked now ahead to where before them the beach so familiar lay. She coughed and heaved with a deep groan as if expelling all the bad within and with that, her lungs released the water that had filled them so she could breathe once more.
The white haired boy and the girl with the red cheeks floated along side her, holding tight so she would not slip beneath the waves again, smiling with the reassuring looks that she had longed to see once more.

The sky was clear and sea birds flew, skimming the surface of the water as they went about their business. Nearby, the surface of the water was broken as a dolphin came in close for a look, with its large round eye staring lovingly at the three friends that were now reflected in its vision. It moved alongside them and they held on as it towed them towards the shore. 
As they sat on the warm sand with its fine texture wrapping itself around their tiny feet and toes, she turned to her friends and with a quizzical look she enquired. “But how did you know I was in trouble, how did you find me?” He smiled and without hesitation he explained. “Thoughts and words. That is what we have, that is how we know. We have read your words and we knew that you were in trouble. We have been searching for you for a while but you have been moving all over the place.” She smiled, and then the girl with her cheeks blushed red added. “It is as though you are a part of our thoughts, so when you were drowning, that part of you which connects with us called out ever so loud and well, we were a bit slow, but you were never in any danger, we would never let what we have fade then disappear.

She had known friends before, but these two friends were more special than pink donuts with sprinkles on them and that was saying something. They had always lifted her and the words they wrote and spoke were like the air that she breathed. She had been gone for some time, or so she thought, but they had never left her. 
It had been a while now since they had been to there, but as they looked up the beach, they could see the Friendship Tree in the distance and it beckoned for them to come and play once more. Words had filled it, and would always be its strength. They were the reason it continued to grow, ever tall, ever wide, ever strong. It was a special place, it was magical and today once again it would feel the life within. With a smile, the three friends stood and walked hand in hand through the field with all its flowers and memories, with the ladybugs, butterflies and dragonflies all coming in close to have a look at them as they walked. Theirs was more than a unique friendship, it was what many longed for, but would never come to know or understand, and as they climbed the Tree, all they had been came flooding back and words began to flow once more into the ‘Book of Dreams’.

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Within us lies the writer true,

Me, my Rose and even you.


Our words that flow from in our minds,

Are never very hard to find.


They’re charged with friendship true and strong,

They sing like a familiar song.


To bring a smile upon a face,

When again we meet in that familiar place.


The tree my friend as you defined,

Where thoughts will flow from childlike minds.


For all to know what we do share,

To live their lives without a care.


To fill the world with laughter loud,

Side by side where we stand proud.

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The old woman sat alone on the hard wooden bench, looking out over the largest of the park’s three lakes. It was late afternoon – almost dusk – and the slow rhythm of crickets chirping their evening song combined with the soft sound of the water’s gentle resistance against the slightest breeze. The two songs – one of summer, the other of spring – wove behind the old woman’s calm recollections like tapestry yarn lacing through a lifetime of vivid memories and faded, wistful remembrances.

How soft and cool the breeze now smoothed against her skin, erasing its ancient folds. She felt herself slowly losing hold of the present moment, the layers of years melting away and transporting her gently back to a time before age had made its presence known in the softly etched lines around her smile. 

“Ahh! Here is the magical breeze,” she whispered to herself and to the small grey rabbit that darted unexpectedly down the hill in front of her and into the scrub fringing the lake, “the same one that has followed me everywhere I have walked for the last two decades.” Far away, birds told other birds where the day’s flight had taken them, and somewhere children played some game that children sometimes played. How long since she had played such games herself? Their vibrant voices bobbed and bubbled – then floated past her – drifting on the dandelion that danced over the lake before dissolving like spun sugar into a glint of sparkling sun. 

Her oldest friend, the magic breeze, rustled the leaves of every tree in the park. It lifted the burden of age gently from her shoulders and carried it away from the bench to the far side of the lake, far from her view. A blissful smile spread across the woman’s soft face as it inclined towards the fading sun. “I shall be the Child once more.” She inhaled the magic deeply into her lungs, every cell of her tired body now renewed as though the air was infused with sparkly bubbles of glittery soap. “Here come my dear friends now.” And they began to appear as they always did whenever she wished for them, one by one as they had done for many decades. 

First, as always, came the delightful little girl in the red satin dress with eyes that sparkled like bright, dark rubies. Windswept hair like golden sand fringed the waters of her blue-green eyes. It had been many years since those tiny oceans had clouded in Angelica’s presence. Now they were radiant, filled to overflowing with the joys of the past and the sweet secrets of the untold future.  “I knew I would find you here, Angelica,” the girl beamed, climbing up next to her on the park bench. “How have you been?”  

The old woman smiled sadly. She could not bring herself to tell the child how tired the years had made her, how worn the threads of her joy had become since they had last sat here together on this bench. But the girl in red could not see the old woman at all – just the eternal friend of her delightful youth, returned to her not decades after their last meeting, but only weeks since they had last come to this pretty park to play. 

The old woman gazed deeply into the mirror of the little girl’s blue-green eyes and saw herself reflected clearly in her beloved bright pink overalls, long before the knees had become worn and the butterfly patches had been sewn on with pink sparkly thread. Yes, she was truly eight years old once again. “Come run with me,” her friend implored, her bright, sweet eyes twinking with mystery and bliss.

And the two girls ran, side by side, laughing along the sun-dappled path that wound like a leafy necklace around the long neck of shimmering lake. Before they reached the bench, the girls fell, breathless, onto the soft dark grass and peered at their panting reflections in the water’s darkening mirror. “There are only two reflections,” the girl in red smiled, nodding, “But in just a moment, there will surely be three.” 

The girls sat, waiting expectantly, gazing into the mirrored surface. An elegant lady in a long red dress strolled along the nearby path, walking two dogs, a Golden Retriever and a brown cocker spaniel with long, velvet ears. “Hello dears. What are you looking at, sitting so close to the lake?” Her voice was bright and full of wonder, and Angelica felt an odd sensation, as though she had seen the lady before.  Perhaps she had only seen her outline in the distance across the lake sometime, walking her dogs on some sunny Sunday afternoon? Or maybe they had met one another a long time ago, possibly even in a dream?  

“We’re waiting for a boy,” the girl in the red dress replied. “He usually appears when we wish for him to arrive and he always tells us a story. We normally don’t have to wait very long.” The lady’s dogs made their way close to the girls, nuzzling their noses against their hands and faces. “Did you really make a wish to see the boy?” the lady inquired. Angelica considered the question carefully, before concluding, “No, not really. I supposed we didn’t actually wish at all. We just sort of expected him to show up.”

“Well, dears,” the lady smiled. “I wonder if he’s anything like the boy I used to wish for when I was younger? It’s no good keeping your wish locked up quietly in your heart. You need to find a way to make it come out. I suppose you could always wish upon a star? That’s how I used to make my magical boy appear.” The girls looked up into the sky, and even though pink and red swirls had started to streak across it like a kindergarten painting, it was simply too early for stars. “How else can we make a wish?”

Angelica’s eyes widened and clouded at the thought that, without a star to wish upon, the boy with the white hair may not find a way to appear. There was no lunchtime wishbone, no cake candles to be wished upon – no pebble to skim across the lake, making it skip three times across the surface to make a wish come true. The girls looked into each other’s eyes, foreheads crinkling like an old woman’s wrinkles. Between them, they knew of no other way to make a wish. 

“Please look after my dogs for a while,” the lady in the red dress asked the girls, handing them their leashes. On her command the dogs sat stiffly, as though guarding the two children. She disappeared around a bend in the path, and each girl sat beside a dog, wrapping her arms around its neck, resting her head against its soft shoulder.  “It’s getting late,” the girl in red sighed. “And kind of dark,” Angelica replied, “And there’s not a single star anywhere in all that swirly sky.” But in a few moments, the lovely lady in the long red dress reappeared, her hands hiding everything that was needed to make a wish come true behind her back.

“And now I shall make you a trade,” she smiled, taking a dog lead from each of the girls, and putting in its place a large fluffy white dandelion on a long green stalk. “We’d forgotten about these!” the girl in red squealed with delight. And together the girls closed their eyes and blew their own magical breezes to send the white seeds flying like two fairies down the path beside the lake, around the corner and out of sight. Beside them, the lady waited in anticipation, wondering whether wishes still came true when dandelions took fairy flights on the breeze of a child’s most sincere wish-kiss. 

Even the dogs seemed to hold their breaths, wondering whether a magical boy would soon appear down the path towards them in his long blue coat, summoned or transformed by the girls’ wishes and their seed fairies. But nothing happened. No boy appeared. They all waited still, but knew with increasing certainty that their wait was in vain. There would be no reunion today; no story would be told.

“I’m so sorry, girls,” the lady tried to soothe them, seeing the heavy outline of disappointment beginning to etch itself on each of the girl’s faces. By now the sky was indeed darkening. Other visitors were slowly making their way out through the front gates of the park and back to homes where warm meals and warm beds awaited them.

“Park closing – 5 minutes!” they could hear the gate-keeper calling. “Please make your way out of the park!” Soon, the lady with the dogs was just a dark outline, moving slowly towards the park’s exit.  The girls remained seated by the lake. “He didn’t come,” the girl in red said dejectedly, all hope fading like a rose at sunset at the end of the hottest day. “We didn’t know how to wish him here with us,” Angelica sighed. “The dandelions didn’t work, and there’s not a single star in the sky to wish on tonight,” she lamented.

“Closing time now I’m afraid, young uns!” By now, the old gatekeeper had limped his way slowly towards where the girls sat on the dark green grass. “Time to move on!” His voice was grizzly and its accent came from far away, but in the descending darkness, Angelica felt sure that his eyes would be kind.

And as night fell and her eyes adjusted to the old gatekeeper’s hunching form, Angelica remembered that she was not eight years old at all, but an old woman, daydreaming once again as she had done so many times before in the park. There was no little girl in a red dress beside her, just the gate-keeper – a man just a little older than herself. She recognised in him another victim of time and age, like herself, at the end of another long day, and closer than either of them would like to have been to night’s inevitable descent.

“Sorry, Ma’am,” he told her, “It’s really time for you to make your way home.” Embarassed to have stayed seated by the lake so long and to have forgotten herself so completely once again, Angelica apologised and began to raise herself off the grass. And like so many other old women whose frail arms fail to support their bodies up off the grass, her knees gave way underneath her, bringing her crashing – as if in slow motion – hard onto the ground, now slippery with fine evening dew.

She winced – a sharp pain striking her ankle like a hammer – and wondered if the howl that filled her ears had somehow come from her own mouth. A flurry of voices floated behind her as the last few visitors leaving the park retraced their steps and crowded towards the old woman who had fallen. As embarassed as she had been to have stayed so long in the park, she was more humiliated now by the full extent of her folly.

“No,” she remembered. “I am not eight years old. I do not wish upon stars or seed fairies. I do not run around lakes. I was a fool for sitting here on the grass, and a greater fool for thinking that wishes could make the white haired boy appear.” In her shame, she gazed briefly back down at the waters of the lake, now black as a mirror against the full sky of night. And as if to mock her, now there was finally the taunting reflection of a single star, shining dimly on the water’s surface.

“I wish I could be young again,” she whispered, in the same breath scorning her extreme foolishness for wasting a wish that could never become a reality. Yet somehow, in the water’s reflection, instead of her own old wrinkled face, she thought she saw the dim outline of a child with pink bows in her hair, wearing overalls with butterfly patches sewn onto the knees. Steadily, the reflection of the child grew brighter as the star seemed to find the full strength of its glow. 

Angelica could feel the gatekeeper’s arm across her shoulder, and his other arm at her elbow, supporting her off the ground. Then she saw his reflection in the water beside her own. But in the mirror of the lake, the man’s face was no longer carved by the chisel of time. His features instead took the familiar form of a young boy in a long blue coat, smiling brightly as he raised her to her feet. “It’s ok, Angelica. I’m right here. I know you couldn’t find me, but I’ve been here all along.”

Joy swept over and through her in the magical breeze that began to blow across the lake without disturbing the two young reflections – which very soon were joined by a third. The woman in the red dress had returned to the lake with her dogs upon hearing the old lady cry out with pain when she slipped and fell. “Are you alright, dearie? Can I do anything to help you?” But in the water’s mirror, the woman’s face belonged to the young girl in the red satin dress; kindness, love and compassion now flooded the pools of her beautiful blue-green eyes.

“It’s ok, Angelica. We’re both here now, as we have always been. You twisted your ankle, but we three shall all just wait here for a bit until you think you’re ready to walk to the gate.” Reunited at last, the old woman, the gatekeeper and the lady in the red dress settled back down onto the grass to wait until the pain in Angelica’s ankle subsided. In the glowing mirror of the water’s surface, they were all young again, friends as they had been forever, smiling over the secrets they had shared for an eternity. They needed no words, only the pleasure and presence of each other’s smiles. But soon a familiar gleam appeared in the white haired boy’s smile and – as had happened so many times in decades past – he asked his two best friends in all the world: “Would you like me to tell you a story?”

His question needed no response from the girls, as their reply came floating in the form of two dandelion fairies, dancing now towards him upon the invisible waves of a magical breeze. He cleared his throat, gazed deeply into the eyes of his two young friends reflected upon the water’s dark surface, then began to tell them a tale from the deepest well of his vivid imagination. Angelica was not at all surprised by the story’s opening words. She listened to them intently, as though she had somehow heard them before: “The old woman sat alone on the hard wooden bench, looking out over the largest of the park’s three lakes …”

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There are no hearts divided, no futures undecided –
Everything has been declared and nothing’s left unsaid.

All thoughts and feelings spoken are more than just simple tokens,
There are no in-between-the-lines just waiting to be read.

All is now as it should be within the boughs of one tall Tree
That’s strong enough to challenge hearts and minds who see it from afar.

We Three have forged such unity inside the mighty Friendship Tree,
No wind will ever come to shake us from the core of who we are.

Though others may not understand, we’ll gently take them by the hand
And help them to open their hearts to bonds that break the mould.

The Three of Us shall link our arms and none of us shall come to harm
As Friendship’s bond connects us and protects us all as we grow old.

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