Story: When I Was A Toddler (Fiction) – 20/08/19

When I was a toddler, I had the greatest friend there could ever be, her name was Delilah, she loved me, and never ever betrayed me. We would have fun before and after playgroup swinging on the monkey bars, we would take turns riding to playgroup and other places in each other’s parents’ cars. She was kind and friendly, and surprisingly always full of energy, there was nothing that could stop her when she was in this powerful, energetic mood, she moved and thought so frenetically. We liked to run laps of the nearby local dam, and huffing and puffing we would giggle, then breathless, upon the ground we’d rest, utterly spent.

Delilah was always there for me, she lived but two houses down the road, often we’d sneak outside of our windows at night and lay on the grass, wondering at the moon and the stars. She often spoke of meteors and shooting stars, planets and things, I wondered to myself where she’d procured all this information, such a clever girl she was to be seen. But poor Delilah had a side to her that others could not, would not be allowed to be seen. She was saddened beyond belief at certain things she’d read about the world, depressing these occurrences were, events that had been. She could not speak of them, not at all could she disclose of them, for her father was a journalist who dealt with information classified by the highest security force in the world, we dared not even name them. In this sense, she was too curious for her own good, and during her alone times, she would contemplate the events that she couldn’t speak of, not even to me, let alone the neighbourhood, and troubled she became, each layer building, building, becoming more painful, then the same, until she had to release them, she wrote of the information in her journal, and dreamed of them in her daydreams.

If there was any doubt as to how Delilah, as a toddler, could absorb such intelligence written, complicatedly through the reports throughout, she was far beyond in understanding of certain things of the past and today. Her parents had read to her since she was but three days old, and upon having heard of this, my parents had done so too, copying their friendly neighbours from the fold. For we were born mere days apart, this is why I call her my best friend and twin, and of life, we had together started. But now a problem presented, and I must make mention of this fact, stressed beyond belief at holding the information back, she began to share it with me, in snippets here and there, and then, I was becoming stressed, I could not hold my frustration in again and again! Now, I knew what danger that there was in knowing this information, I urged her to keep quiet, to cease reading the reports, and quell her stressors with contemplation, but Delilah giggled her typical laugh, and said not to be ridiculous, that knowledge was a key to the present, future, and past.

“But ‘Lilah,” I said, sounding rather pained, “You’re risking your life for being informed, do you want me to be forced to do the same? Please don’t share your facts with me, and please of them stop reading, it is the best for us, for you and for me.” Shaking her head, she would not be convinced otherwise, she toddled off to the other house down the street, with her unbalanced toddler gait, knowing she could do as she pleased, hide and fervently read. If only Mister Garter, her intellectual journalist of a father, could know of what his daughter was doing, the dangers she was risking, the dangers into which she’d been thrown. And there was only one thing I could do, one thing that would make me lose my friend, I had to inform Mister Garter, because no one else knew of her antics, and besides, if they did, they would not inform him instead.

For the sake of my friend, for her protection now and in the future, my little twin best friend and sister, I was willing to lose her. If it meant they were required to move across the world, to avoid consequences, of her being known of as privy to the information only meant for a certain fold, then so be it, she may hate me forevermore, but at least she would be safe, and that would be a godsend for me, simply because. I loved her dearly, and I hoped she would understand, there was nothing underhanded or reeking of betrayal about this, but I felt so terrible, so sad. She would never speak to me again, but this was the way it had to be, my sister, my heart, my truth, gone would she be, flown the coup.

And I still remember to her to this very day, as I write of her, in my current day and age, I wish that I could find her, but surely she is married by now, different surname, perhaps an exciting life, I will never ever know. I knew I had performed the right action when official looking vehicles and men came looking for them, about three weeks after the family had suddenly upped and left in the middle of the night. These men asked around the townspeople, knocking on residents’ door for hours, trying to reckon of where or what had occurred in this scene. And smiling to myself as I remember how she was saved, perhaps she recalls my memories fondly, I hope that her father provided her a proper explanation the departure day, but in my heart she’ll always ring true, Delilah, my best friend, who had to leave because of what she knew.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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