Falling Blocks

She sat on the floor, stacking her blocks. At eight, some said she was too old to be doing such a thing. Other girls expected her to dress up barbies, or to stage elaborate weddings and parties featuring different dolls and stuffed animals. Amelia had these toys, but little interest in them. She liked her legos, she liked her blocks. She liked stacking them high into the air, creating bases for them so that they would not fall over. She could stack higher than anyone she knew, more than her friends, her older brother. It made her proud.

Her brother was old, much older than her. Eleven years older, already out of school. She heard so many members of her family talk of how young he was, and this was confusing to Amelia. Nineteen was infinitely older than eight. Amelia had a hard time imagining what knowledge and wisdom you would have at that age.

But they said it, Amelia heard her mom cry while saying it on the phone. She heard the women who came during the monthly church meeting come and say it in hushed tones.

“It is so sad.” they would say, shaking their heads. “Such a good boy. And so young.”

Amelia didn’t always think he was that good of a boy either. There were times when he would tease her. He used to lift her up above his head, and spin her around, even when she would tell him to stop. He would sometimes call her “Amelia Bedilia” from the children’s book series, even though he knew that made her mad.

He was okay for the most part though. Even if he was old, and sometimes teased her, she missed him when he moved out. She used to always ask her mom why he couldn’t come and visit, but it would just upset her so Amelia stopped asking.

The television, playing the news behind her, went silent.

Amelia glanced over, and saw the silent series of pictures of men and women. They were all dressed like her brother was now since he had went away. She squinted at their ages. Some were older, in their twenties. Others were nineteen like him.

Amelia’s mother did not like talking about this part of the news. She would often walk out. It took Amelia a long time to know that these people who dressed like her brother were at the same place as him, and that their pictures were on their news because they had died.

It was like so many things Amelia could not figure out, and she knew that knowledge was being kept from her. She heard them speak of war on the television, she had heard about it ever since she could remember. She knew the people in uniform fought in that war, but her mind could not entirely wrap around the idea. She could not picture her brother there either.

Amelia turned and stacked on more block, very carefully. The tower waved, and Amelia watched with bated breath for a few short moments before it toppled over. Amelia sighed, and then, resigned, started rebuilding again.

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