“You mean you couldn’t see your friends?”

“We weren’t allowed.  When I was your age.  Well of course there was…”  How to describe it?  A screen, a flat surface with images.  So long ago.  “We could see each other in pictures and talk to each other, just like we do now!” She fell silent, regretting the lie.

“But there was no Entrance?”

The young were so quick.  The child missed nothing.

“No.  The Entrance came later.”

“So… you couldn’t reach out and touch each other and play together, like I do with mama?”

It was getting harder.  “My lovely, your mama – when you go through the Entrance and see her, hug her…”


She faltered.  “….she’s there because you see her.”

“Of course! I see her, I touch her!”

But she isn’t there.  She couldn’t say it.  It would destroy the poor girl, if ever she grasped it.  “Mama is there because you remember her.”

The child’s eyes gazed in wonder.  “So if I don’t remember her, she isn’t there?”

“Of course she’s there!” she blurted. “It’s just….”  She took her granddaughter on her lap and rocked her gently.  “You have to call her. When you call her, she comes.  Because you see her.  Now, let’s continue…”

One day she would have to leave this space.  It wouldn’t be long.  She was nearly ten.

Outside would not be what she expected.  Not at all.  But for now…

“Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in the woods…”

“What are woods?”

© Gareth Jones 6/12/20


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