Pure Water

September 24, 2007
By Shay Maunz, Clarksburg, WV

She was happy. The sun shone warm on her back, tan and freckled from so many summer afternoons spent playing in her back yard. ?There’s nothing a seven year old loves more than the pure water of a plastic play pool, warmed by the sun on a summer afternoon. She splashed some, played with toy buckets, made boats out of leaves, and then decided to go inside for a bit. The day was smiling at her, but she’d had enough and it would still be smiling tomorrow.

She grabbed her fluffy pink towel off a tree branch and ran inside in her bare feet. She let the screen door slam behind her, but her parents must not have heard. They were screamin at each other in the next room.

She hadn’t expected this. She had expected her mom to make her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that she would eat in her bathing suit, with her hair still dripping wet.

Instead she sat there by the door a while, quietly so as not to draw attention to herself, and listened to them. She listened to the awful things they said to one another and hated them both for being so hateful. The tears on her face blended with the droplets of pure water from her playing, but when she started crying too hard she had to leave. They wouldn’t know she’d heard them.

She tiptoed out of the house, shutting the screen door behind her carefully this time. Who cared about them? She still had her pool, the sun, and her fluffy pink towel. But when she reached her pool she found it dirty, with dry leaves floating on the water. She put her foot in. But the water was cold, not pure anymore. The day didn’t smile.

She sat beside her pool, shivering, with her towel around her arms until she saw her dad storm out of the house and she knew it was safe to go back in and pretend that everything was fine.

It’s amazing how much older a little girl can become in just one afternoon.

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