Lily was playing in the sandbox with the other children. The game seemed childish to her.
She looked across the park. There was a man seated on a park bench. He had a cigar in his mouth, and was reading a newspaper.
“Don’t go talk to him” said another girl. “You can’t ever come back if you talk to him.”
“I’m bored here,” Lily said. She left the others to play in the sandbox. She approached the man and sat by him.
The man said nothing. He didn’t acknowledge Lily.
Lily quickly grew bored with the bench. She started to get up.
“I wouldn’t,” the man said suddenly. He didn’t lower his newspaper.
Lily stood up anyhow. The ground seemed far away. That wasn’t it. Her legs were longer.
“I’m all grown up,” she said, surprised.
“Yes, that’s right.” The man still didn’t lower his newspaper.
“I’m going back to the sandbox.”
“You can’t go back,” the man replied. “You can’t ever go back.” He lowered his newspaper. Lily looked at his face, and realized she’d known him forever, and would always know him. The sun went behind clouds, the ground tilted, and the sound of birds and the sound of children were far away, as distant as the Himalayas or Mars.