Once a month, our lovely Christian writers’ group, called Cotswold Scribblers, meets up. We usually have a theme to write around, and I enjoy trying different genres and ideas. The theme for May was Victory, and this was my piece. One of the others had a lovely piece as well, highlighting that victory could be the same as loss, and it comes out in this piece. Victory, but for how long, and at what price? Victory can be the idea that you persuaded the adults around you to let you stay at least one more day in your current placement.

She stands just outside the kitchen door, listening to their quiet voices. Her hand grips the bear a little tighter as she takes the smallest shuffle forwards, then changes her mind. She doesn’t want to know. Does she? Suddenly resolute, she steps forward into the kitchen, rushing towards the blond haired lady, and jumps up and down, side to side, her face in the largest smile she can manage. “Look at my bear, Cassey,” she says, her voice loud and singsongy, “look, he’s wanting his dinner, but I told him it wasn’t dinner time yet, that’s right, isn’t it? We don’t have dinner till much later, do we? When Amy wakes up, and then a bit more, and I told bear that, and Amy is still sleeping, ‘cause I can’t hear her, so she must be sleeping, and bear didn’t believe me. He’s very naughty, isn’t he?”

She takes a quick breath, her eyes taking in the lady’s face, and she slows down the bouncing a little as the lady smiles at her. Her voice is less loud as she continues, “…but maybe bear could have a snack or a quick biscuit as long as he doesn’t spoil his dinner. I don’t think it would spoil his dinner, would it? What is for dinner?” She stands still now, and her tummy makes a little wiggle deep down.

The lady smiles even more, “Oh sweetie, look, I’m still clearing up from lunch! Yes, dinner is quite some time away, we will eat when the short hand of the clock is on the four, and the longer one all the way down pointing at the six. You can have some carrot for you and bear, do you think you’d both like that? Or bear might be thirsty and you both could have some water.”

She nods, yes, carrots would be good. “Bear doesn’t like water,” then she hesitates. Maybe they should have water, if only it would change the conversation between the adults. Will they stop the quiet discussion if she had water? But she really doesn’t like water. Cassey smiles again, and touches the little girl’s hair for a moment. “You can have squash instead,” she says, “I know you don’t like water. I will pour some for you now, and then I think you and bear should go outside, so you can show Maggie how high you went on the swing the other day, she’ll never believe me otherwise.”

The little girl nods, and drinks her drink as slowly as she dares, glancing at the woman called Maggie. Maggie smiles at her as well, but not the way Cassey does. She has seen Maggie before, and she doesn’t think Cassey likes her too much, for the evening after Maggie has been, Cassey is frowning a lot and there are always very quiet conversations with Dan, Cassey’s husband, and those conversation stop when they know she’s nearby. Dan is extra loud and tosses her in the air higher than he usually does, calling her Funny Bean, making her giggle, but his eyes weren’t the same and she had been louder and wilder, so Dan stopped smiling. It hurt and she had screamed when they said there was nothing on the telly as it was too late for little ones everywhere.

Maybe if she goes outside and shows Maggie how high she can go, maybe the adults will be happier with her? The feeling deep down is back and she jumps up and down, telling Maggie in her brightest voice that she can touch the sky with her toes from the swing, and Maggie laughs, and she feels like today might not be a day where Cassey will be whispering in a cross voice, and the thought makes her skip into the garden, feeling sure she’ll be sleeping here tonight and tomorrow as well, until Maggie comes again, but today she managed to make Maggie happy, and that’s all that matters right now.

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