One day Lilly decided to explore the neighborhood. Mostly, she felt safer staying indoors, or spending time in the park across the street; some days she almost felt safe at school, but the adults there took care of her so she didn’t need to worry about things. Mostly. At home, Mom and Dad looked out for her. So, stepping out on her own, without her parents, was a pretty big deal, big enough that she didn’t tell her parents.
Still, she was only so strong, and decided it would be best to keep her eyes closed and explore only with her other senses. Perhaps, she thought, the world would be easier if she only had to contend with sound and smell and touch. No seeing, and she certainly wasn’t going to taste anything, so three out of five felt manageable.
She knew the feel of the cool iron hand-rail and the sound of her shoes as she stepped down the front stairs to the red flagstone sidewalk. This part of the neighborhood she knew with all of her senses and felt confident using only three. Usually the pink and purple of the pansies caught her eye, but now their floral scent came to her. She felt a little disappointed that she couldn’t tell them apart.
Another smell came to her, this one made her feel hungry. Fresh bread. There was a bakery just down the street, and as she followed the smell, she imagined creamy butter and the warmth of fresh rolls in her hand made her wish she could taste the bread.
The bell over the door dinged when she entered the shop. She knew the counter displaying all of the baked goods would be to her right, and the small tables where people might enjoy their pastries or baked goods would be to her left. The kitchen where the smells were coming from, would be straight ahead. She stepped into the middle of the room to avoid any customers who might be coming or going. The door dinged again.
Lilly raised her nose to follow the wonderful smell, stood up on her tiptoes to get even closer. She caught a trace of raisins, could see them in her mind, the dark nuggets of sweet fruits.
A hand rested on her shoulder and she settled back down to the floor on her feet. The hand felt warm and reassuring. “It’s okay mom. I’m strong today.” The hand left her shoulder, and Lilly listened to the steps that followed her all the way home; the rustle of a paper bag from the bakery in her mother’s hand, a loaf of raisin bread safely carried home.