Maisie was eating at her favorite local mom and pop restaurant. The waitresses often brought their children in to sit a table off in the corner to play, or color, or play games on tablets. However, Kiernan, the daughter of the daughter of the owner, has become quiet attached to Maisie, and Maisie listens to Kiernan as she recounts all her adventures and escapades and flights of daring do.
Kiernan’s mother Lauren came out from the kitchen, and shooed Kiernan back to the corner table with the other kids. Lauren apologized to Maisie, but Maisie smiled and said she didn’t mind. In fact she adored Kiernan’s unselfconscious joy and exuberance. Her wild imagination. Her sweet and guileless nature.
Soon after, Maisie’s order came out; club sandwich with dill spear on the side. Maisie looked over to the kids, and felt a sadness and joy, a bittersweet loss. Kiernan would not always be as she was. The world would get to her, and shame her, and she would be betrayed and even the ones she loved would twist the knife.
Maisie had struggled so long with so much sorrow and disorder, so much unpredictability and instability, and she’d been so young, maybe 15, the last time things were good, that she’d never put much thought into whether she’d have children of her own. The world growing dark and more unstable, hadn’t put it any closer to the front of her mind.
Maisie watched the children, and hoped that always retain some of that innocence and enthusiasm, that all the things in this life that can scar us and hurt, they would never be completely broken.
Maisie eats her meal, and once again wonders about her past, and her future.