This was the hardest thing she had ever had to do. Standing
there, looking at the headstone of her best friend in the whole wide
world, she felt so alone.
Technically, she wasn’t alone. Standing behind her were Lady
and Mr. Man. Oh, by this point, she knew enough to refer to them as
“Mom” and “Dad” when talking. She even could begin to understand why
being called “Lady” and “Mr. Man” bothered them so, especially as she
addressed all strange women and men that way. In her head, however,
they were still Lady and Mr. Man. What else could they be when they
seemed like strangers, even now? They were never around to watch her;
Mr. Man had his career and when Lady wasn’t cleaning the house, she
was at some meeting or other. They weren’t the ones who protected her.
He had. And now he was gone.
Looking down at the lilies she held in her hand, she shook her
head. As old as she was, she never thought that she would have to do this.
Maybe she could blame it on being a only ten; how was she to know that her
friend was so much older than she was? How was she to know that his days
Mr. Man put a hand on her shoulder. “Sweetie, it’s okay if you need
to cry. We know how much you loved the guy.”
At this, the blonde ten year almost growled. How dare Mr. Man or
Lady begin to tell her what to do? They had no idea how much he had done
for her or what their relationship was. They were never around to see it.
When she was younger, she was very curious and very naïve. She often
wandered off, after balloons, butterflies, and balls. She’d move blithely
through all manner of dangers, talk to all kinds of strangers. By rights,
she should have been dead a long time ago.
She still breathed because of him. He followed her when she went
“out on an explore”. He protected her from all the dangers she didn’t see.
He kept her from being hit by cars, falling and getting hurt, even from getting
wet when she decided to take off in a rainforest. For his trouble he often was
ignored and/or chastised by her parents. They didn’t know how grateful to him
they should be.
Or maybe they had some idea. They had paid for him to be buried here.
And they did pay for the nice tombstone, too. And, if she remembered correctly,
he had protected Lady before she had been around to protect.
All of that aside, at this moment, she didn’t know how to honor him.
When she was younger she never said “thank you”. In the beginning, she didn’t
know how. Then she thought that protecting her was his job. That never stopped
her from being grateful, she just didn’t know to express that gratitude. And,
of course, she figured he’d be around to protect her little girl some day.
After she started school, she had toned down her adventures somewhat anyway.
As her friend began to slow down, she would have him protect her dolls while
she stayed out of trouble. But in all of that, she never really said all she
wanted to. She never told him that she understood. She never thanked him. She
rarely told him how she felt; she just thought his favorite snack and a hug
It didn’t. And she wanted to let him know, somehow, that she appreciated
him and would never forget anything he had done for her.
Looking up again, she walked away from her parents. Setting her flowers
on the grave, she took at deep breath and began, “Buttons…” She paused. She wanted
to let him know, wherever he was that she’d be good and safe, just for him. She
didn’t want him to have to worry about her anymore.
Finally, it came to her. “Buttons…I’m okay. I love you. Bye-bye.”
- The End -