When there was nothing else, she turned to the pages. To the lines and lines of black on time-stained white. The words that sat in understanding solitude, waiting for eyes to awaken their most vivid images.
When tears marred her vision, she would flip the cover open and seek solace in the pages’ musky embrace. In its tales and laughter and tears.
When no one held a hand out to her, she would look instead to the invisible arms that coaxed her into the chair in the corner, where she could curl up and imagine and escape.
When all she had was sorrow, she would listen to her heroes and learn that sadness was okay. That pain was okay. But that she was stronger than it. And that overcoming it was difficult, but she was determined, and she could.
When all she heard were mocking voices, she would shut them out and hear instead tales of conviction. Tales that allowed courage to well up within her own heart.
And when she stood finally, steadily, she had an army behind her. An army of everyone she had come to know and love. And no matter what happened, no one could ever take them from her.
But one day, she knew, she would gift them to someone else. Someone who, like her, desperately needed them.
And she smiled.