Alice was not a product of science but a product of hope. A hope, albeit threadbare, that held two very special people hostage for over 10 years.
Joseph and Avina had been trying for years to conceive. The strain of infertility tore at their marriage and at their faith in the universe’s benevolence. Alice was a miracle and with her birth they grew both individually and as a unit. Alice was a precocious child full of light and wonder. They spoiled her and she loved them without embarrassment as only very small children can.
Alice died when she was 6 years old, drowned in the river behind their house. She had been told never to go to the river by herself but on that particular day she decided to exercise her curiosity. It was a beautiful day, a day of invitations, spring after a long and isolating winter. She had been coloring in her room when she noticed something by the water. To an adult’s eyes it was only a trick of light but to her mind it was proof of the impossible. She crept out through a side door while her mother made lunch and down to the river’s edge. She hadn’t intended to get wet, only to investigate.
The day that Alice died the willows bowed their heads deeper and wept. Each night Avina and Joseph crept down to the star-glazed water and cried alongside them.
I chose When Willows Weep at Night