“I want to go up there.” Kate told Jimmy who was lying on his back next to her in the grass.
“You can’t,” he informed her with a sigh “you need wings and it is very cold in the sky. The clouds are mushy and wet too.”
“I’ll ask for wings and a raincoat for Christmas.” was her even reply.
“How are you going to ask for those when you have no one to ask?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll think of some way.” Kate closed her eyes and drank in the sunlight that penetrated her eyelids,
“I’ll learn to fly and you will too.”
“Jimmy,” Kate stood in the backyard, watching him throw a ball at the fence with all his might: BAM! Catching it again when it came back to him: THUNK.
“Jimmy,” Kate repeated “why are you doing that?”
“I’m mad.” He told her and threw the ball again. BAM!
“Why are you mad Jimmy?” THUNK. Jimmy caught the ball and gripped it until his knuckles turned white.
“I’m mad because I’m sad. Everyone is gone away and no one is coming back.” BAM! THUNK.
‘What about your brother and mother?”
“And your father?”
“He can’t come back. He would want to if he could but they put him in the ground.” BAM! THUNK.
“Why did they do that Jimmy?”
“They won’t tell me,” BAM! THUNK “they tell me I’ll understand when I’m older but I want to understand NOW.” BAM! THUNK. BAM! THUNK. Kate put her small hand on his arm.
“It’s okay, Jimmy, I don’t understand it either. I’m not going to go though, I’ll stay here.”
“I know,” Jimmy dropped the ball at his feet and his shoulders sagged “But I don’t know how long you will be here before you go too.”
“Kate,” Jimmy tilted his head back to look up at the night sky above them “do you want to visit the stars with me one day?”
“Yes, Kate nodded “one day I would.”
“Why do the stars make me sad Kate?”
“Because they remember all the things we have forgotten.”
“What have we forgotten, Kate?”
“If I knew that, the stars wouldn’t be sad.”
“Do you think we will remember one day, Kate?”
“Maybe, but I think that every time we remembered what we forgot a star falls down. So, perhaps it is a good thing we forget, if we didn’t, there would be no stars.”
“If we visit the stars I am sure there are some things we will not help but remember. Do you still want to go with me, Kate?” Kate was quiet for a long moment and then she nodded and whispered,
“I will because it is worth the risk.”
“Jimmy,” Kate was confused “Jimmy, Why can’t we? I don’t understand.”
“I have to go, Kate, I have to go away.”
“But why, Jimmy? You said we were going to visit the stars.” Jimmy shook his head.
“They are too far away, Kate.”
“But what about learning to fly and understanding all those things we don’t know?”
“Kate, no one can learn to fly, and I understand those things now. And Kate… I don’t want you to understand them. You need to stay the way you are. I WANT you to stay the way you are.”
“And what way is that, Jimmy?”
“Innocent, Kate, believing you can fly and that you can visit the stars.”
“We CAN do those things, Jimmy!” Jimmy closed his eyes and shook his head again.
“This is why I have to go, Kate. If I stay you’ll change, I’LL change you and I don’t want to. I love you the way you are, Kate, I don’t want you to become like me.”
“What is the matter with being like you, Jimmy?”
“You would not understand, Kate.” Kate’s voice dropped to a lower note,
“Because you won’t let me, Jimmy.”
“The Jimmy you know no longer exists, Kate.” Jimmy hung his head.
“What are we, Jimmy?”
“I don’t know, Kate.”
“I know, Jimmy. We are halves, halves of a whole. So, you see it is you who do not understand. If you did you would understand you and you would understand me and you wouldn’t go.”
“If we are halves, Kate, who split us apart?”
“We did, Jimmy. We did.”