Goodbye is a Big Red Button Labeled "Do Not Press"

April 12, 2010
“Mommy, Mommy! Watch!” called the tiny, innocent girl as she ran outside and toddled down the huge white driveway, her curly brown hair bushing out from under the bike helmet that was slightly too large for her small head. She tripped, but popped back up again in a split second, unscathed because of the old knee and elbow pads she wore. The weather was perfect outside that day, a lovely 70o and sunny, with a light spring breeze.

“I’m watching, honey!” her mother called from the front porch swing where she sat with her iced tea and the latest edition of Oprah magazine spread on her lap. She chuckled as her daughter awkwardly straddled the Barbie bike she had been so excited to open last Christmas morning.

She pushed off the ground to a wobbly start, twisting and turning the handlebars of her tiny bike to try to find her balance. In a second, she caught the center of gravity and glided down the road.

Her mother stood up and clapped. “Yay! Honey, that’s great!” she cheered, proud of her little girl’s accomplishments.

The little girl stopped and hopped off of her bike clumsily, letting it fall to the ground and looking back at her mother for approval. She smiled when she found it.

The very next day found a similar scene, the little girl riding a little bit farther down the road, her mother applauding her loudly. And the day after that, and the day after that. Soon, she could ride flawlessly around the street, and it was no longer a feat worthy of her mother’s undivided attention. But, still, she rode around daily, if only for her own enjoyment. Sometimes, it would rain while she was outside, but she didn’t care. Water never hurt anyone. She stayed outside through the seasons. Years passed, and she grew up. It poured everyday now, yet still she rode on.

And then, one day, she walked outside, got on her bike, and slowly pushed off. She turned in a direction she didn’t usually take. She pedaled off her street, out of her neighborhood, and kept going farther and farther away. She didn’t turn around.

Her mother was distraught when she couldn’t find her baby girl. She frantically searched everywhere, but all she found was a note lying on the desk in her room. It read: “We never think to look for the negative where there are good intentions, but our self destruction is evident when our means betray our causes. And, yet, we continue, calling it benevolence, all the while working against ourselves. The fire that warms us is all-consuming, though dare we to douse it, surely we will die. Such as it is, I fade away.”





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