She cradled the faun's head and he went to sleep.
I had read the final line of the bedtime story about a thousand times, well that is what it felt like and each time Suzie reacted as though it was the first. It made me wonder about the magic words from the authors of these kinds of stories. Did they have any idea just how powerful they were? To instill such feelings in the children listening they could hear the same story over and over yet always hear something else?
Often when my eyes were too tired to read, I would say the words from my own imagination, sure I had memorised every word, every line, every break to point and explain the picture. Perhaps I was wrong and made things up as I went along. But it never seemed to matter, Suzie loved it all the same.
This evening as I put the book back in the nightstand drawer amongst the others, I noticed it felt strange. Hot. I took a look at the cover, the faun's head looked slightly different, closer to the mother than usual. In fact........the mother had moved position, closer to the edge of the book, right by the tree instead of in the middle.
I looked down at my sleeping daughter.......the bed was empty.
Just for a moment I remembered her accident on the swing, the hospital, the graveside........then I returned the book to the drawer and left the room, happy she enjoyed the story again.