“Tell me a story,” she pleads, pulling off her most effective sad puppy face. He tries not to smile and turning away slightly, says: “you’re too old for stories.”
“I’m never too old for stories! You’re too old for those pants!” she huffs and plops down on the couch. He rolls his eyes and picks up the writing pad he had been doodling on. “Okay! Fine. Tell you what though,” he starts as he uncaps the pen, “I’ll do you one better. I’ll tell you a story and draw it out too.”
This piques her interest immensely and she’s already peering over his shoulder. He pauses then adjusts his position so that the writing pad is between them. He takes her hand and closes her finger around the pen and presses the nib down to paper.
“Now then,” he begins, “this is a story close to my heart. When my mother left, my dad would sit up with me the nights I couldn’t sleep and we would do things together. He taught me this one. It’s a bit odd but just take it for what it is.”
She nods excitedly, eager to get things rolling. He takes a deep breath and taps into that memory.
“There once was a boy who had no arms–”
He guides her hand to draw a stick figure of a boy with no arms.
“He lived in a bubble and was always so sad.”
Together, they add a circle around the stick figure with no arms.
“So one day he decided to search for his happiness. He went up a hill and discovered a cave. But the cave was empty.”
He makes her draw an elaborate oval loop atop the circle and a smaller n within it, which he makes her shade.
“So he climbs up another hill and voilà! Another cave. But it’s also empty.”
He makes her repeat the loop and the shading. She goes along with it, enjoying this new experience.
“So he catches a bus and travels to the other end of the world.”
From the base of the second loop, he guides her pen to make a long c on the left side of the circle.
“The other end of the world held no surprise so he catches the bus back.”
He pushes her pen to the right side of the circle and makes an elaborate loop similar to the one on the left.
“When he gets off the bus he realizes it was all for nothing so he starts to cry.”
He lifts her tiny hand clutching the pen and repeatedly stabs the pad, ensuring the marks fall within the circumference of the circle.
“But once the tears had washed away the dust from his eyes, he saw that there was a path he had not taken. A path beyond the hills so he sets off on this path–”
He takes her hand in a further loop encircling the previous penned m. And as he slowly draws the descend towards the circumference of the circle, he lowers the timbre of his voice and wraps up the story on a meaningful note:
“At the end of the path, he found what had been waiting for him all along.”
“His best friend.”