Sun warms the back of Ruth’s neck and highlights the grey in her hair as she sits outside the small coffee shop, enjoys the scent and taste of a freshly brewed cup of caffe mocha, and the company of her friend Karen.  The small town that nestles around them is quiet in the early morning light of a spring day.  A few cars pass and people drift in and out of the shop behind them purchasing their drinks of choice before heading off to work.  

   There is a movement on the opposite side of the sidewalk where the ladies sit.  A young man, dressed in jeans and a denim jacket walks along and holds the hand of a small dark-haired girl who wears a blue jacket and purple corduroy pants.  Their movement is slow, drawn to the leisurely pace by an even smaller girl whose hand is held by the older, dark haired youngster.  In pink tennis shoes which match her pink jacket and pants, the little girl, with a head of blond, curly hair, walks along on her tip-toes, talks and is oblivious to the impatience of what must be her older sister.  

   Recognition comes over Ruth as she watches the trio who move along like elephants in a parade, nose to tail, confident in their attachment.

   “That’s what it was like with my sister and I,” Ruth says as she continues to watch them.  “So many years ago I was the dark-haired one and responsible for Emma, my younger sister.  There was something about her that I just could not understand.  She drifted through life in her own world and in her own way not minding al all the slowness of the pace.  My God, how I miss her now, but back then all I wanted her to do was quit babbling and pay attention so that we could get to school.  I had places to go, people to see, and things to do.  I didn’t need a younger sister whose attention wondered and for whom time had no meaning.  And now she is gone.  I will never again hear her voice or feel her hand in mine.  Never again will I look into her blue eyes and share her smile and joyful laugh.  Life has passed so quickly.  She is gone and I am left with only the memories.  I can only hope and pray that in the end she knew how much I loved her.”

   Ruth continues to watch the young man and the girls pass before her until at last they begin to round the corner at the end of the block.  Just at the last minute, the little girl with the golden hair turns.  Her eyes meet Ruth’s and in that instant, their souls touch.  Ruth feels a warm glow of recognition before the little girl disappears around the corner of the building across the street.  In that instant, Ruth knows Forgiveness and Love.  She finishes her coffee, stands, gives Karen a kiss on the cheek, and with a smile on her face she begins her day.