Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Sixty-two:

Amy Russo (Late morning of September 13, 1983)

The funeral’s reception was just about over, so I began rounding up my family, starting with the kids. Behind the funeral home, there had been a small playground for children to run around and play on while their parents did all the mourning for them. It didn’t really have much to offer other than a slide, a couple of swings, and a single teeter-totter.

“Higher, higher!” Piper yelled at Tommy, who had been going back and forth between pushing her and Brian on the swingset.

“Oh, Ma, thank goodness you’re here,” Tommy said when he noticed me, walking towards them. He’d been out of breath. “My arms getting tired.”

“Yeah? You want me to take over?” I beamed down at him.

He nodded as I went around the swings to take his place, while he rested for a bit. I was about to start pushing when I noticed, at the corner of my eye, Adeline, sitting in the grass all alone.

“Hey, did any of you, by chance, ask Adeline if she wanted to play with you guys?” I asked, beginning to, at last, push Piper and Brian.

“No, she plays too rough,” Piper answered.

“She pulled Piper’s hair earlier,” Brian added. “She didn’t even say sorry afterwards.”

“Are you okay, Butterfly?” I looked over at Piper.

“Yeah, I’m okay now,” she responded.

“Yeah, now she is,” Tommy scoffed. “No thanks to that weirdo over there.”

“Hey, be nice,” I demanded. “That ‘weirdo’ just lost her mom. In fact, I’ll be right back.”

“Where are you going?” I heard Tommy question behind me as I started walking in Adeline’s direction.

“I’ll be right back! Brian and Piper keep kicking your legs out!”

Sitting on her knees, underneath an oak tree, Adeline had her back towards me and continued to have it as such the closer I got to her.

“Hey, Adeline,” I said to her. “What are you doing out here all by yourself?”

She didn’t answer, however. Instead, she continued to stare at whatever was in her hand.

“Whatcha’ got there?” I tried with her again, crouching down and glancing over her shoulder.

This time, she actually turned her head to look up at me. She smiled, widely, as she opened her fist to reveal to me what was inside. When I found out that it was none other than a crushed up butterfly with its guts splattered all over her palm, I took a few steps back. Why would she smile at that?

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