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Faithless lived in the Land of Time, in the country of Childhood. It was considered by all to be the most magical and carefree kingdom, with no officials or rules. It was a land of meadows, spaceships, and dreams. Anything was possible in Childhood, anything that could be imagined became real. It was a clean and bright place full of exotic colors and adventures. Laughter and giggles rang throughout hills, as girls raced and twirled down hills, and boys defeated giants and treaded through streams. At the end of each day of play, the children would gather in the center of the softest meadow and camp beneath the stars. When the adults remembered their time there, one thing commonly mentioned was how the stars were so bright: brighter and twinkling more frequently than in any other place. Wishing stars showered nightly. During the day, clouds made creative shapes above napping toddlers, and the wind played with the hair of the infants. Imagination sparked in the very wind, wonder shimmered on the rivers, oceans, and lakes, and joy pranced through the forests and bound along the waves. It is hard to describe such a place because it looked different to each youth. The best years were spent here, and every grown-up had at least one good memory of Childhood. It was here Faithless met True, her best friend.
It was one of those few, rainy days when most of the children were playing in puddles and getting muddy. The rain drizzled merrily, as bright raincoats and boots violently stomped in anything wet. Kids held races on bikes, water streaming high on both sides. But Faithless was sitting under a tree, watching the wonder take place. She was alone because she was different. She was right about the age when her citizenship was nearing its expiration. Children at that age become less innocent and more aware. Aware enough to know that there was an odd-ball in their midst. From the down the hill, a head emerged. He stopped and greeted each child and waved at ones too far away to hear. She watched warily as He leisurely wandered closer and closer. True walked in long strides and had big rough hands. He was not a child. It was the first grown man she had ever seen, the first adult too. He came and sat beside her and didn’t talk. He had a short, neatly kept beard, acorn hued skin, and astonishing eyes. He didn’t seem old, in fact, He seemed just right for her age. He never grew older either, as she would find out. Finally, she asked his name-politeness is often missing in children-:
“True,” He smiled slightly. “Call me True.”
“You are Faithless.” It was a statement, not a question. “I am here for you.”
At this, Faithless buried her head in His jacket. What was this? How could she trust a man she had just met? Was it the ragged clothes of vulnerability she wore? Could it had been the way that this total stranger had said such words? Could it be accurate that Someone wanted to be with her? Someone cared? Could He see the hurt and pain deep down? There was a security in His affection for her. An affection? How could this man know her enough to love her? She didn’t know, but she could sense that He knew her completely and loved her all the more for her flaws.
–The best way I can describe it, as I sit here and pen this story, is a childlike trust. For what else could it be? —
As she leaned in closer to Him, a new word formed in her head. Maybe it was the warmth of Him that brought the word, or the sense of His arm comforting her, or that woodland sent that arose from his cloths. She never knew, but that word! Oh, the word! Home. Inside, a longing was formed that could not be quenched. She did not know what the word was, or what it meant. It was simply a shiny thought, an unidentified dream.
For a long time, the two sat, the girl crying steadily, and a hand on her shoulder. A small golden flame came from True’s heart and absorbed into Faithless. A warm peace filled her. A faint glow of love bundled in her chest. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced before. After that they were inseparable. True followed her everywhere, and sometimes she would follow Him. She wasn’t alone anymore, and so days were spent in bliss, eating ice cream cones together, and swimming in the lake. They played catch and went hunting for bird nests. The ache inside, or maybe it was a fear, was dim most of the time, but when He hugged her, that strange word again floated to the surface. She couldn’t help but feel she was missing something.