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Handle with Care

The girl sat on her favorite chair (the cushiony one that was slightly worn from years of love) next to the window in the almost-corner of the room. Her legs were resting on the arm of the chair, and her body was slightly turned so that her head wasn’t painfully sitting on the other arm. She had a blanket wrapped around her body, and her feet barely protruded from the bundle. Sitting on top of her blanket-covered lap was an open book that she was paying no attention to; she had just started the book, and the beginning was rather tedious. She had high hopes for the book, so she kept reading it, hoping it would get better, but she finally gave up and glanced out the window next to her, resting her chin on her hand. Outside, a blizzard was raging. The sentence seemed absurd to her as she thought it; she couldn’t imagine such a beautiful thing being compared to anger. The small frightful snowflakes outside banded together for strength, showing the beauty of teamwork and friendship. Each snowflake giving a helping hand to the other, each group being held tightly in the grips of a fierce wind, while at the same time, each individual snowflake was being gently caressed and softly placed to its temporary resting place on the ground.

The girl smiled as she realized she was the perfect model for the typical winter scene. She turned her gaze from the window and back to her book, sighing with discontent. Many of her friends had read the book and loved it, so she’d began the book excitedly, looking for a book that would give her chills and make her feel as if she was an important character who helped her fellow characters on their journey to the last page, the last paragraph, the last sentence. All hopes were in vain, however, and the girl couldn’t stick through another sentence of the nonsense. She placed the book gently down on the floor (her long arms didn’t disagree), because even if she didn’t like the book, a book was a book, and should be handled with care.

The girl snuggled into her blanket bundle more tightly, and one of her earphones popped out. She frowned slightly and put it back in, and smiled again at the sound of a song that was a hit long before she was born; a hit that was a huge contributor of an era she wished she could’ve lived in. She loved things that had gone to pass, things that nobody else in her generation really found value in. She loved show-tunes, Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, classic rock, old movies, Shakespeare, records…the list went on and on. Her friends jokingly called her crazy, others called her meaner names, and her grandmother called her an “old soul”, which she thought was true. But she loved it most when she was called by her real name, Elissa.

The song she was listening to ended, and for a few fleeting moments, all Elissa could hear was the silence of her house. Faintly, she heard her father’s snoring, and she could close her eyes and picture him lying haphazardly in the bed, taking almost all of it up. Her mother would be furious when she woke up on the edge of the bed, but never make any fuss because soon she’d notice the one thing holding her onto the bed was her husband’s arm, tightly yet gently holding on to her.

The next song began, and Elissa’s eyes opened again, and she settled into her chair again. She was warm now, but one look outside had her wanting more warmth. The only obvious solution that came to her mind was a nice, steaming cup of hot chocolate. She hated to get out of the chair, but now that she’d thought about the delicious flavor and warmth delighting her tongue and making her toes tingle, she couldn’t turn it down. Slowly, cautiously, she turned in the chair so she was sitting straight up. She reached with her toes until they touched the floor. She winced at the coolness of the hardwood, but slowly placed the rest of her foot down and sucked it up. She then quietly made her way to the kitchen.

She reached into the cupboard and pulled out a small box that held the packets of chocolate powder and out of the fridge pulled milk. She put the cup of milk in the microwave and pressed the button to start it, then walked back over to the milk and placed it in its rightful place in the fridge. She leaned against the counter, waiting for the milk to be done warming up. Her eyes fell upon several stacks of boxes looming in the corner by the door. She stared them down, dared them to strike her like she knew they were going to, but they did nothing but stare back at her innocently with their brown cardboard shells and “handle with care” labels. The boxes were the beginning of the moving process. Soon Elissa and her family would move to a new home, new territory. They weren’t leaving town, but Elissa was still scared to have to leave the home she’d lived in all her life; the house that harbored so many good memories.

The microwave beeped once, interrupting Elissa’s thoughts, and she rushed over to take the milk out, not wanting to wake her parents. She poured in the powder and mixed it with a spoon, making sure no little bits or especially no clumps were still bobbing about or sitting at the bottom. She wanted maximum hot-chocolate-goodness, no minor let-downs or flaws. When she was done stirring, she placed the spoon in the dishwasher and took a tentative sip of her concoction. Delicious; it was just what she wanted. “If only everything else in life turned out like this,” she thought as she took another sip. She sighed and made her way back to her chair and soon to be blanket-bundle.

As she once again settled down in the much-loved piece of furniture, she couldn’t help but think of how she, like the flowers on the roses in her grandmother’s garden, the boxes in the kitchen, or the delicate bird singing its carefree song to the world, needed to be “handled with care”. Not only did she realize this, but she realized that everybody else did, as well. Everybody has a soul, and each one is fragile, no matter how hidden or how obvious. Each person is different, so every soul is different; the cracks and breaks in it are different, as is the light that shines behind it. In the end, the light that shines behind the soul (the happiness of the person), shows that each intricate crack and break makes for a beautiful finished project: the soul.



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