(updated rough, for a children’s story)
Celeste met Henry at dawn on the day after her 4th birthday.
She was taking her new shoes for a walk, showing them around the neighborhood.
She had seen him crying in a bush outside Mr. Burnbarrel, the local mycologists shop.
Apparently Henry had fallen into the bush while trying to figure out how high he could jump.
Celeste helped him from the thickets and quickly introduced him to her new shoes, Martha and Marty.
Henry asked if he could have a piggy-back ride as he threw his arms around her and she clomped down the road to her house.
They became instant friends, and ceased to spend a single moment apart.
Especially fond of static electricity, Celeste would rub him on her head until he clung there lovingly.
In the early mornings, the school-grounds wet with dew, would welcome them.
Celeste was an amazing climber, an atavistic gift from her great great great great uncle.
They would spend hours in the oak, dropping locust shells on passers by.
Mr. Burnbarrel would turn purple with suspicion as they skipped past his shop window on the way to school.
He was convinced that Henry, Celeste’s companion and confidant, was in fact his old gray cardigan gone missing months ago.
Despite their obvious attachment, Mr. Burnbarrel plotted to get the sweater back, as winter was well on its way.
Nights he would stay awake in his clammy basement laboratory scribbling out methods to use in the safe return of the raggedy gray cardigan.
One day, Celeste and Henry were pretending to fish in the old water works.
Henry had just pulled a shiny red-bellied salmon from the deep concrete pool.
The three of them stood clapping and then dancing round in a circle in celebration of the fish’s birthday.
Today was the fish’s birthday!
When suddenly Henry leapt into the air and disappeared behind one of the abandoned building.
Celeste and the fish stood with big eyes wondering what could have come over him.
Little did they know, inside the building, Mr. Burnbarrel was reeling in the fishing line and hook he used to snag his old cardigan without being seen.
Celeste and the fish searched high and low for Henry.
They searched in the alley.
They searched in the oil drums.
They searched in the fire escape.
Henry was nowhere to be found.
Although the fish wanted to come with Celeste, to walk her home, she needed to be alone to think of where he could have gone.
Also, the fish was having trouble breathing outside of the pool.
So they shook hand and fin, and kissed goodbye.
Celeste walked home, a very unhappy little girl, though deep down she knew that she would find Henry, no matter what it took.
She was a very determined little girl.
Days went by like the clouds in the sky.
Each day after a healthy breakfast of grapefruit and milk, Celeste would sit in her mothers garden, scribbling methods on where she would hide if she were Henry....
Pining for her sweet embrace, the cardigan became enraged.