The Child ran out

The Child ran out into the road, monkeys in their arms. For the adults nearby time stopped. The sound of the breeze through the trees was silenced, colours faded and hearts froze. For the Driver thinking of arriving home soon the world would never be the same.

The Child walked into the room, arms full of two toy monkeys, and sat down.
Adult 1 smiled. ‘I like your monkeys.’
‘It’s one monkey and one ape’ said the Child.
‘Oh?’ Adult 1 smiled again. ‘What’s the difference?’
‘Monkeys have tails and apes don’t. And other things.’
‘I see. Thank you. I always wondered.’
The Child smiled and Adult 1’s heart broke.

Adults 1, 2 and 3 introduced themselves. The Child kept turning towards the door.
‘They’re not coming, I’m afraid,’ said Adult 2. ‘They were halfway here when they changed their mind and asked to go back.’
‘But they said they would!’ the Child shouted. ‘They promised.’
‘I’m sorry but you know how it is,’ said Adults 1, 2 and 3 in their different ways.
‘No!’ said the Child. ‘No!’
The Child stood up and ran out of the room and through the front doors. The Adults chased after the Child, shouting the Child’s name. The Child ran out into the road, monkeys in their arms.

The old year did not feel old

The old year did not feel old. It was barely in its stride. It was still young enough to want to leave. It was not old enough to know of the dangers.

The mother said Go, go now, with the wind and the snow in your face, go now, look forward, always look forward. And I, I remain, you in my heart.

The child looked at her as if she were from another time and place. The child looked at its feet and felt its own thin-stringed arms then said it would go. Now. It was its turn.

The new year was inexperienced. The new year was green below the white. The new year knew though. The new year knew.