"Levi ... Levi, hurry my love. I thought you wished to see the garden," I hear Mama say from my room.
My little voice squeaks, "coming," in reply as I rush to pull my boots on. Thundering down the narrow stairway of our small cottage, I find Mama shaking her head while smiling down at me.
"Come to me you little monkey, put your cloak on," a laugh leaves her mouth as she tenderly ties the string around my neck.
Making our way out, I follow Mama to the small chest that holds her gardening tools. As she begins working on her flowers, I watch for a few moments before leaving her alone when she makes a fuss.
In search of something to do, I look around for anything strange, letting my feet lightly hit the ground. Spotting a blackish-blue insect crawling on the cobble-stoned walkway, I smile widely as I quietly creep to it.
I watch as the small insect walks freely in between the cracks, oblivious to the approaching threat. Grazing it's top with my finger, I let out a blaring shriek in shock as it's tiny body coils itself into a ball. As it slowly unravels, I quickly hold my hand out letting it crawl up my finger. Watching as the small bug crawls across my palm towards my wrist, I giggle at the tickly feeling. Slowly turning towards my Mama, I run to her, careful not to drop it.
"Mama, what's this?"
"What, baby," she asks softly, distracted by her flowers. Mama's eyes drift toward my hand and a big gasp leaves her as she quickly disregards her previous task.
"Levi, go put it down right now," she says sternly.
"But Mama it's cool, what is it?" She pushes me to the bushes and brings my hands towards the dirt.
"It's a roly-poly and I don't want you picking them up or any bug up anymore, ok?" I pout at her reply.
"Why Mama? They're so tiny and cute," I say smiling, but Mama only frowns.
"They are not 'cute', Levi. They crawl and get into places they aren't wanted," she states while going to collect her forgotten items.
Ignoring her, I look down and spot a worm wiggling around in the dirt. Smiling widely at my new interest, I dive for it but stop midway when I hear Mama shout, "LEVI!"
"Sorry, Mama," I whisper bashfully and walk over to her side. Leaning my head on her leg, I wait for her to finish her tasks.
Once she finishes trimming the bushes, we walk back to the house and go to wash our hands.
"Mama, can I help you with dinner?" She nods in response before we make our way to the kitchen. As she grabs the spices, meats, and vegetables, I grab the small stool set by the stove and bring it towards the table.
Mama hands me a small knife as she says, "Levi, remember what I told you? Don't put your hands close the knife when you're chopping."
Nodding at her words, I concentrate really hard and finish cutting up the carrots, celery, and other vegetables I can't pronounce. Once I'm done I bring the knife to Mama and tell her I'm all done.
"Levi! What did I tell you about holding the knife that way? Point it down so you don't hurt yourself or anyone around you." I quickly turn the knife so that the sharp end is pointing down and the handle is pointing up.
"Sorry, Mama," I reply with a sheepish smile. She returns it with a smile of her own before kissing my forehead lovingly and taking the knife out of my hands.
"Good, now go wash up for dinner."
"Mama, I'm six, not two. Can't I wash up after dinner, like Papa?" I whine, desperate for her to change her mind.
She gives me a pointed look and I know I've lost this one.
"No," she says with finality, "now go before I go get Papa."
I take that as my queue to run upstairs and take the quickest bath possible so that I can get back before Papa gets home. I finish and walk back downstairs smiling.
"All done," I say and go to sit down.
"Hang on," she says as she walks towards me.
"Arms up." Lifting my arms and rolling my eyes mentally. She smiles before continuing, "good you actually took a bath."
"Mama," I say blushing thinking it's crazy that she would think I wouldn't bathe; especially when she said she would get Papa.
Before I can sit down, I hear the door open and run out of the kitchen quickly hearing Papa walk in.
"Papa!" An excited scream leaves my lips as Papa turns around quickly to catch me mid-leap.
"Monkey! How was your day? Did you give Mama any trouble?" I blush and shake my head.
"My day was good, Papa. I may or may not have shown Mama a bug and she may or may not have freaked out." He looks at me with a raised eyebrow.
"May or may not have," He asks assumingly, giving me a pointed look.
Knowing his next moves, I jump down from his arms when I see Mama come out of the kitchen.
"Hide me, Mama!" Papa comes around with his hands out in front of him.
"The tickle monster is going to get you," I hear Papa say excitedly as I scream running around our home.
"GOT YOU!" I scream again and get tickled to death.
"Ok, you two. Time to eat." I hop off of Papa's lap and run to the kitchen.
"Hi dear," I hear Papa say to Mama, following with a kiss to her lips.
"Ewwww," I say dramatically, making Papa turns to me with a smile.
"What do you mean eww, you little monkey?" Papa ran to me but stops shortly after Mama said to.
After saying Grace, we start to eat and have our daily dinner discussion. I tell Papa what I saw in the garden while Mama was working.
"... and then it rolled itself up like a ball, and then opened back up, and then it crawled on my hand. I was showing Mama but she made me put it back," I say with a pout. Papa chuckled and ate one of his big green thingies that looked like a tree.
Right as we were about to clean up, a knock on the door resounded through the cottage. Mama tells me to grab the plates as Papa goes to answer. A few seconds after the door opens, I can hear shouting in the other room.
Going to see what the commotion is, I hear, "no, please don't you take him. I'll do anything, I promise! He said you wouldn't take him until he turns 13. He's not 13 yet!"
I peek around the corner, recognizing Papa's distressed voice.
"Papa, what's going on," I ask as I come around the corner.
The big men in the door frame shove Papa to the side and come to pick me up. Evading their reaching arms, I move quickly and run to Mama.
"Mama, what's going on?" I ask, helpless to her suffering as tears pour out of our eyes.
"I'm sorry baby, you have to go with those men." I look at Mama as if she's crazy.
"Why, mama? I don't wanna..." She interrupts me by pulling me to her chest.
"I know baby, but you have to. Be strong for me, ok? Be strong and remember that your Papa and I will always love you." She takes off her locket and puts it around my neck.
"Always remember that we love you." I nod rapidly and hold her tighter when I see the men approaching.
The men yank me from her and I start to scream.
Mama didn't move.
She just stood there next to Papa, crying.
Why isn't she moving? Why isn't she trying to get the men to let me go?
I hope you enjoyed learning a little about Levi's backstory.
Thank you for reading!