A Long Way Home
As they walked home, Emerson rested her head against Oliver and closed her eyes. She always felt safe next to her dad. Her head was still pounding, and she wrinkled her face to help bear the pain. She felt overheated even though the air was cold.
“Roses and thorns,” said Emerson.
“Roses and thorns,” Oliver repeated. “Rose. I heard from an old friend today who said he can help me with something at work.”
“You never need help at work,” Emerson said. “You help everyone else.”
“Well, this time I need help.”
“Thorn,” said Emerson.
“Thorn,” Oliver repeated. “That scene back there might be one of the worst thorns I’ve ever had. What were you doing outside with that gang roaming around?”
“They were going to hurt Max, and I couldn’t let that happen.”
Oliver sighed and stopped in mid-stride then knelt down on one knee so he could be eye to eye with Emerson. “You can’t protect the whole world, Em.”
“I’m not trying to protect the whole world. Just the part I’m in. That boy was so big, and Max is so small. He could have killed Max.”
“Em, you’re not much bigger than Max.”
“But I’m a little bigger, and older, and I have Friday,” she said. “I had to help him. I couldn’t just watch and do nothing.”
“But you should’ve asked for help from someone in the café,” said Oliver. “Skylar, Samuel, Truman, somebody. Anybody. You could’ve gotten hurt. What were you thinking?”
“I was thinking about Mom,” said Emerson. Her eyes filled up and her lower lip started to tremble. The fear she felt from the events of the day hit her all at once. She couldn’t hold it together any more.
Oliver closed his eyes, and a tear trickled out without his permission. Though he was a master of language, comments like this from Emerson left him speechless. How could he fault her for wanting to be like her mother?
“If she were me, she would’ve done the same thing, right?” Emerson asked.
“Yeah, that’s what your mom would have done,” he said. “You are so much like her. More and more every day.”
“Do you mean that in a good way?” asked Emerson.
“I mean that in all the best ways,” said Oliver.
Emerson smiled, feeling less tired now, and they started to walk again. The clouds had cleared and a blanket of stars peeked out from the inky black sky.
“That’s weird,” Emerson thought. “New York rarely lets us see the stars.”
Thirteen-year-old Emerson Page wants to know what happened to her mother, Nora, a world-renowned anthropologist who was found dead on the steps Metropolitan Museum of Art five years ago under mysterious circumstances. Emerson’s quest for answers takes her deep below the streets of New York City into a dangerous and magical world of books where she discovers the stunning truth about her mother and the legacy her mother gave her to fulfill.
Christa Avampato’s book Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters is currently running a giveaway on Goodreads! Enter via the book page.
Christa Avampato is an author, journalist, and product leader for a technology company in New York City. She chronicles her adventures and passions on Twitter at @christanyc and at christaavampato.com. C