Tera hung Christmas lights in the windows of her room. Tiny white lights, in strings, like icicles. They glowed soft yellow from behind the pull-down shades and cast the room in the faint warm gold of their burning incandescence all the night.

I looked in on her at some point, walking the hallway without reason some hours after she’d gone to sleep. Her daughter, sick with a cough and fever, had climbed into Tera’s room, and lay, a tiny mass at rest by her side. I watched their faces in parallel, cast in gold, twin faces except for the gap of years and worries. I thought she was an angel, that little girl, features so small you didn’t want to touch them, afraid that they might break. Asleep.

She came to me the next morning, and told me how the sun shone all night in her mother’s room, “all night long!”

I’d long stopped trying to set this little one straight by that point. It’s too beautiful to watch her believe.

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