From "Placing," an O. Henry Recommended Story
Some nights she is so tired it is hard to continue. And though she knows it is only the patch of darkness grafted on her heart, she can't find a place safe or still enough to stand in, the circle of light that held the mice in her favorite children's book eluding her as it eluded Cheerful, the one with the white feet who wanted to live in the country. So she puts the book, still open, aside, pads through the winter silence in her house and prepares for the day to come. There are four posts around my bed, there are four angels 'bout my head, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless the bed I lie on. The church mice sang The White Paternoster as they played hide and seek in the vestry. And everybody was happy but Cheerful, who stood in the pool of green cast through the stained glass, imagining meadows. And even then she too wanted to be elsewhere. And even then her father recognized something, buying the book for her after they'd checked it out of the Hatteras Public Library ten times. He pulled the book from inside his coat, from where he had protected it against the sudden but expected July rain just beyond the door, and handed it to her. Putting words and travel in her hand, though they already lived in the country.
("Placing" by Mary Carroll-Hackett first appeared in Alimentum. Copyright © by Mary Carroll-Hackett. Excerpted by permission of the author.)