She’d fallen in love with Amy’s childhood,
& so she shared the memories as if they were her own,
& in so doing, she became what Amy might have been.
The stories they told, no one believed,
because what they saw through their limited prisms,
they could explain in the way only children can—
in innocence, the guilt of the adults around them.
Every year, her parents had Photoshopped
an age-progressed picture of her abducted brother,
so that when she crossed his path many years hence,
she knew, with startling clarity,
the man he had become,
the man who would take her life.
She learned “once upon a time”
& “happily ever after” from stories,
& everything in between from the lives
she lived through those stories.
Mr. Bob had been her imaginary friend.
When she came upon the grown-up version of him,
she knew he’d been very real to her mother.