|Original picture created by Alex Cherry|
It was autumn. The days were getting shorter. The temperature and the leaves were falling with the wind. School had already begun.
Abby loved to go to school. She loved the polished wooden desks. She loved the crisp scent of lined paper from her notebook and the wise ink within her passed down textbook. She loved the crumbled brick of the old building and the rusted iron frames around the windows. School was comfortable. Everyday Abby walked the tiled halls with her classmates with a solemn smile, assured that she would learn something new within the familiar building she adored.
More than anything, Abby loved recess. While her friends were off playing four square and hopscotch Abby sat alone, leaning against the crumbly brick wall, reading from a book she borrowed from the library. Today Abby was holding a book called "Hannah's Goodbye", a story of a little girl who had to move from her small town to a big city. It wasn't anything Abby could relate to as she already lived in a big city, but as she moved through the pages, pondering the sad transition of leaving home behind, it occurred to her that one day she would have to leave her school. She was in 6th grade already and in just under two years she'd be torn from the beautiful and completely comfortable school she knew, only to be thrust into some strange new setting filled with strange new walls and strange new people.
"Hannah's Goodbye" was reaching Abby's heart. Page after page, Abby read as the book came to a conclusion Hannah had found a new home in a new place, forgetting all the sweet comforts of the life she knew. There was resolution in the story, but Abby was not satisfied.
"Something must be done!", Abby thought. "How could I ever leave this place behind? I can't. I won't!"
As if all at once she became inspired, Abby raced towards the stack of chalk left out by the kids playing hopscotch and four square. She picked through each piece until finding a heavy charcoal black stick that hadn't been used yet.
"Perfect." Abby found what she'd been looking for.
The bell rang to line up, but Abby didn't want to go. She took hold of the black chalk and immediately began tracing the long crooked silhouette against the crumbled brick. When she finished she noticed that while the shadows around her had lengthened and flattened with the lowering autumn sun, her shadow remained fixed within the chalky outline. Even as Abby moved, the chalk moved with her. The capture of her shadow was intriguing.
"Come on, Abby. It's time to go inside" The teacher called.
"One minute." Abby shouted back. It was unusual for Abby to disobey a direct order from an adult, but this was serious. Abby turned the chalk on it's side and began making long hard swipes against the brick, filling in the borders of the shadow from head to toe as fast as she could; finishing the chalk as she completed filling in the body of her form.
"Abby, right this instant." The teacher commanded again.
As Abby rushed back to the line, there her shadow stayed attached to the crumbled brick wall. She drew her shadow... leaving a piece of herself behind to always be where she wanted to be.