Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1190797-The-Walk
by Gaea
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #1190797
A Harried Mother starts to wonder, "What If....?"
                              Note: I wrote this a couple of years ago when my family had me particularly harried and I started to wonder, "What If...?" If the formatting is bad, I apologize, as it comes out differently than in Word or Notepad ( I tried pasting from both). Please tell me what you think of it, good or bad. I need to learn:)   

The Walk

         Susan woke up that morning as she did almost every morning for the past thirteen years; to the blaring alarm of screeching children. “Who needs an alarm clock?” she said to the image in the mirror as she washed away the sleep and braced for the day.
         On the way downstairs, she picked up scattered clothing her brood had left behind in the bathroom, bedrooms, and even the hallway.
         ‘That must have been Derek,’ she thought. Her five year old son hadn’t yet learned the art of modesty. He would strip anytime, anywhere; no matter who was there to see. At the bottom of the stairs, she almost tripped over John’s skateboard.
         “John! Get this off the stairs or it’ll be in the garbage when you get home!”
         “Sorry mom.” Her ten year old said as he grabbed the death trap on wheels and flew past her into the kitchen for breakfast.
         Loud music blasted from the living room TV, and she decided to go shut it off and find the culprit. Ahh yes, it was Dana, one of the 13 year old twins this time.
         “Where’s Danny?” Susan asked. The twins were rarely far apart.
         “He’s like showering or something,” came the sulky reply as Susan clicked the TV off.
         “I told you I don’t know how many times; keep the volume below 10, especially in the morning. Next time you lose TV privileges for a week.
         "Wait Daniel is showering? Who held a gun to his head?” Susan asked, confused. Danny didn’t shower unless forced; he thought sweat and dirt were manly.
         Giggling and rolling her eyes, Dana replied, “It’s a girl mom…duh. He met her at baseball practice and he overheard her tell a friend that another boy smelled good. Now he’s obsessed with how he smells.”
         “Oh god he’s discovered girls, are we ready for this?” Susan asked rhetorically. Giggling Dana replied, “I don’t think the world will ever be ready for Danny.”
         Shaking her head, Susan went to see what mess her husband had left for her in the kitchen. They had a deal; He would rise 45 minutes earlier and fix breakfast, but she chauffeured all the kids. Some deal; she also had to clean everything.
         Upon entering the kitchen, she wished for probably the hundredth time that she could just go back to bed, and when she awoke, the mess would be gone. Fat chance.
         She found Derek sitting on the floor mixing something into the dog’s food; it looked like left over soggy Frosted Flakes. ‘Great…just what I need; a retriever with the runs.’ she thought. 
         At the table she found John with Cheerios, eggs, toast, ham, sausage, and pancakes.
         “Jeez John, when did you turn into a linebacker?” With a sheepish grin he replied, “Well you know what they say...a growing boy needs fuel. “I couldn’t make up my mind, so dad made all of it for me.”
Shaking her head and not paying attention, she slipped and almost fell on spilled Orange Juice. “Who spilled this? Someone clean it up."
         Immediately and predictably, the boys each blamed the other.
         “Ok then you can both clean it up.” Susan said as she headed to the laundry room off the kitchen to start the first load of clothes. As she sorted them she called out, “Derek, walk Pete then get your stuff together for school.”
         “Aw mom, but it’s John’s turn!”
         “No way Jose, I did it last night, and besides you’re the one feeding him stupid stuff.” John shouted across the room. Derek glared at John, who looked smug. As he took the leash off the wall peg, Derek shoved John’s head just as he picked up the bowl of cereal to slurp the milk; making him slop the milk all over himself and the table. Predictably, Derek ran, but not fast enough, and John slugged him in the back, knocking him to the floor.
         “Mom…John punched me!” Derek whined.
         “He shoved me and made me spill my milk!”
         “Ok John, you walk the dog, while Derek cleans up the mess.
Grumbling to themselves, the boys knew better then to argue; they’d end up with worse chores.

         After starting the laundry, Susan went to hurry along the children and get dressed to take them to school.
         “Dana, do you have your report in your book bag? Go change clothes, you are not wearing that skirt.”
         “But mom, that’s not fair, everyone wears these. Do you want me to look like a nun and get picked on?”
         “I don’t care what everyone wears. They aren’t my kids. Also, I seriously doubt that every parent in the city allows their thirteen year-old daughters to dress like hookers. Change now or I’ll take you to school in my robe and curlers.”
         Dana stood there with her arms folded, scantily clad hip cocked and rolled her eyes like only a thirteen year-old can pull off with such perfection every time. With an evil image in mind Susan added, “I’ll also be sure to walk you to the door and kiss you goodbye.”
         Horrified at the mere thought, Dana exclaimed, “Oh God, you can’t be serious! You wouldn’t really do that…”
         Susan grinned and walked out of the room saying, “Try me.”

         On her way up the stairs to prod Daniel along, she heard her husband Bill call for her and reversed direction. As Dana stomped out of the living room towards the stairs…no doubt to change clothes, Susan told her to pass along the message to her twin that if he didn’t get moving, she make him scrub the bathroom after school."
         In the den, she found Bill dressed, but with tie askew. Frantically, he yanked a filing cabinet drawer open and rifled through the files. “Suzie, where’s the Hunter file…I had it right here, but now it’s gone.”
         “Good Morning to you too dear, and it’s not gone, you left it in the bedroom night before last when you read it in bed.”
         “Thank God, I thought one of the kids were in here messing with things again.” Bill said rushing out the door and up the stairs.

         She quickly showered and dressed. At the top of the stairs, she blew a whistle to get everyone’s attention. “Car leaves in five minutes, be in it, or spend the day cleaning the basement!”
         Frantic footsteps raced through the house as four kids tried to gather everything and get out the door fast enough. “Works like a charm, every time.” She said as even Pete ran for the door.
         At the door, she made sure everyone had their book bags, and whatever else they needed for the day. As Bill rushed past, she grabbed him, straightened his tie and gave him a kiss.
         “Sorry honey, I’m gonna be late, I’m due in court in 30 minutes. Tonight we’ll spend some time together. Oh and don’t forget the dry cleaning.” He said giving her a peck on the cheek and jogging to his car.
         She got in the van and started the engine as Derek came flying out the door, struggling with his sports bag, book bag, MP3 player, and box that contained his science project. He Jumped in the back of the van and slammed the door, just as she put it into gear. “That was close Derek…again. When you get out, the MP3 player stays here.” He grumbled a bit, but knew the rules.
         Dana and Daniel were first out, as the middle school was closer.
         “Mom, don’t forget I have baseball today.” Daniel said as he hopped out.
         "Yeah, and I have band.” Dana added.
         “Yes, I know, have a good day. I love you both, see you later.”

         John and Derek were next. Next year the kids would be in three different schools when the twins entered high school and John began middle school. She shuddered at the thought.
         “Bye mom.” Derek said jumping out and slamming the door.
         “Nice try pal, hand it over.” Grinning, Derek handed her the MP3 player through the open window. He even gave her a kiss…after checking to be sure no one was around to see of course. John yelled goodbye as he leapt on his skateboard and sailed off towards the building. 

         Alone finally, she took a breath and savored the moment before starting on her errands. Slowly, she turned the van around and headed for the grocery store. Once the shopping was done, she went home to unpack and get Pete for his visit to the vet.
         Pete was reluctant at first, but as usual she wrestled him into the van and he calmed down when they arrived and he recognized Dr. Armstrong’s office. Pete loved Dr. Armstrong; he played with the dogs and always had good treats. After warning him about Pete’s unusual breakfast, Susan promised to pick Pete up at 5:00, and then headed for the dry cleaners. After the dry cleaners, she stopped to get the oil changed, and the tires rotated. Last on the list, was a quick stop at the post office for stamps and envelopes. Finally, she could go home and start on the cleaning.
         Before she had to pick up the kids, she managed to get four load of laundry done, cleaned the kitchen and living rooms. Paid the bills, sewed the small rip in Dana’s band uniform, and even squeezed in a few minutes for a chat with a neighbor friend.

         She picked John up and dropped him off at his Karate lesson, picked up Derek and Daniel after their baseball practices, but Dana was late getting out of band, so they had to wait a bit. During the wait, Susan listened to the boys talking about practice and arguing over who was the best pitcher in history. 
         She dropped the kids off at home, leaving explicit instructions and rushed to get Pete. With her last chauffer job finished for the day, she decided to take a few minutes to herself in the park.
         Pete ran off chasing birds, but never strayed very far. She relished the quiet moments; they rarely came anymore.
         She thought about her hectic days and boring nights. Bill rarely touched her anymore and when he did, there was no fire, no passion. It seemed to both of them like more of a duty then pleasure. She longed for passion again.
         The days were filled with cleaning, errands, and fighting children, and homework, and extracurricular activities. So many things, so little time…where did it all go? She wondered who she was anymore; where did her carefree, fun youth go?
         Pete ran off after a stray cat, headed towards the interstate. Susan followed wondering what it would be like to just keep walking. What sort of people would she meet? What stories could the broken asphalt and double yellow lines tell? What would happen if she just kept walking…?
         Lost in her thoughts, she didn’t realize how far she’d walked until the blast of an air horn jerked her out of her ruminations. She leapt to the shoulder just before the black and red Peterbilt would have ended her thoughts for good. Shaken, she leaned against the dirty steel guardrail to catch her breath. Pete sat at her feet looking at her with his golden head cocked up; he seemed to be asking her what her problem was.
         Once her legs stopped shaking, she stepped over the rail and walked down the embankment towards the small creek at its base. She’d let Pete have a drink then head back home. The cool clear water invited her to sit and enjoy a few more quiet moments while soaking her feet.
         She awoke to find Pete licking her face. “Damn, I’m sorry boy, must’ve dozed off. Let’s get on home.” She got up, gently pushing the big dog off of her and stretched. Looking around, she saw something pink floating in the water about 20 yards downstream.
         Deciding to investigate, she put her shoes back on and walked along the bank. The pink object that had caught her eye seemed to get closer, but never close enough for Susan to make out what is was. She watched it lazily riding the gentle flow of the creek, soon she knew the creek would join a larger river and the flow would get faster. She wondered how it would feel to be that thing…whatever it was, just floating along without a worry, having no idea where it would end up or what happened to it; just completely at the mercy of the elements.
         Eventually, she caught up to it and waded through the deepening water to satisfy her curiosity. Her heart caught in her throat as she neared, because it looked like a baby. Splashing and yelling, she stumbled her way through the now almost waste high water. When she reached it, she almost fell into the water as her fearful hysterics gave way to laughing. It was only a doll after all. She picked it up smiling at the pretty pink dress and wide blue eyes.
         Pete gave a bark as he paddled around her. “It’s ok, Mom’s just a ninny; it’s only a child’s doll.” Holding the soggy plastic baby, she wondered where it had come from, and what it had seen. By the looks of her, she had traveled quite a ways. She held on to it as she  made her way back to the riverbank, and eventually to a road. Somehow the winding river had led her away from the highway, and now she wasn’t sure what road she was on, or which direction to go. It was nearing dark now, so she decided to walk until someone came along, hoping it wouldn’t be too long.
         After about forty-five minutes, she came to a sign she knew well. It read, “Gray County.” She had walked into the next county. Tired, hungry, and still damp, she looked down at the doll she still carried, then to the road ahead. Despite being very uncomfortable, the call of the empty road and all the ringing questions in her head, she pushed on. She’d call home later and get a ride. For now, the urge to just….walk was too great to ignore.
         Finding a barn about an hour later, she realized that she’d never find anyone this late to give her a ride, or the use of a phone. There was no sign of a house nearby…but then again, the darkness was so complete she couldn’t see far beyond her outstretched hand. She had followed a small access road about a half hour before, thinking it would lead to a house…but no luck so far. She’d bed down tonight in the barn and in the morning find a way home.

         Entering the mostly empty barn, she found an old pair of mans overalls hanging on a peg near the door, a large half empty bag of dog food that looked like it had been there since the Clinton administration began, and a rusty knife. Pete sniffed the bag, and pawed at it until he knocked it over. Apparently he decided it was ok to eat and dug it hungrily. With the odd things Derek fed him, Susan didn’t think the old dog food would hurt him.
         She walked back outside and rummaged nearby until she found kindling, some decent sized branches to start a fire with. She also found an apple tree. Most of the apples had fallen off the tree, but she did find several that hadn’t started to rot yet. Making three trips to the barn, she finally got enough to start a fire just outside with the lighter she carried for the rare cigarette she smoked. Stripping off her damp and clingy clothes she hung what she could on the old barn’s door near the small fire to dry.
         Though she didn’t want to think of what might be inside the overalls, she liked the thought of sleeping in wet clothes even less. After shaking them out well and pounding them with a stick in case there were any spiders or worse hiding inside, she donned them and sat next to Pete taking what warmth she could from the fire and ate apples, occasionally sharing a piece with Pete. “Well, boy it looks like we’re camping. Keep an ear out for trouble.” She said, petting him and drifting off to sleep.

         The next morning, Pete awoke her again by licking her face. The sun was just breaking over the treetops to the east, painting the sky with red and orange strokes. Gently, she pushed Pete away and shivered in the chilly morning air. “Lord how beautiful that is, I need to get up this early more often.” Pete didn’t seem to care about the sky, no matter how beautiful it was, he just wanted water.
         Susan added more branches and stoked the fire again and walked around the barn to see if there was a house nearby. No such luck. She did however find an old well, the bucket lay forgotten next to it. The sides were rusted, and had a few small holes, but it would have to do she thought. She cranked the handle until the end of the frayed rope came up.

         Tying the bucket into it as best she could, she lowered it again, hoping the well wasn’t dry. When the line went as far as it would go, she cranked it the opposite way and found it heavier to pull up…maybe there’s some luck after all she said to Pete as he stood with his front paws against the rim and looked down wagging his tail and barking.
         The water looked dirty, but the thirst overrode any thoughts she might have had about danger from it. “Well Pete, looks like we drink dirty water. If the bucket wasn’t full of holes, I’d try to use it to boil the water first. Oh well. Dipping her hands into it she took several mouthfuls before stepping back to let Pete drink his fill.
         The small dirt road she’d followed petered out into overgrown brush not far behind the barn. She could barely make out where the road once was. Susan figured that if there was a house back there, it wouldn’t help her any. It looked like this place had been deserted for a long time.
         She breakfasted on more apples and changed back into her own stiff clothes, but decided to hang on to the knife and overalls; after all it was chilly and she didn’t know how much walking she’d have to do.
         She and Pete headed back down the road, she whistling a happy tune and he trotting alongside her as if they hadn’t a care in the world. For the first time, she felt free. She felt completely at peace, though she wasn’t sure why.
         All day they walked, taking small turnoffs as they came, unconcerned now with getting home, only the need to walk. They dined at a river on blackberries and walnuts Susan had found. Walking along the river, Pete occasional swimming around in it playing with the fish, or trying to anyway, they found a wide area and decided to camp there for the night.

         Once again she made a fire, though a bigger one then the night before. Pete curled up against her stomach and she stroked and talked to him until she drifted off.
         Later, she was yanked out of a pleasant dream by Pete’s snarling. She sat up, instantly alert as Pete never snarled. Pete stood in front of her slightly crouched, his hackles raised. The fire had died down to little more then embers but she could barely make out a shape fifteen feet from the protective dog.
         “Who are you, what do you want.” She called out with more strength then she felt.
She hoped she sounded tough and not as scared as she was.
         “Jess ole Joe here missy, who’re you?” he asked with a slur.
         “My…my name’s Susan…what do you want.”
         The man moved closer, Pete gave a warning growl and the man stumbled a bit but stopped. “Don’t pay me no mind missy, you here alone? I don’ see no man around…”
         Slowly she pulled the rusty knife closer and slipped it into her right hand.
         “Go away, before my husband gets back from using the bathroom, or you’ll be sorry.” She replied.
         The man chuckled then said, “You ain’t got no hub’ban ‘ere, who ya tryin’ ta kid?” He took a step closer, and Pete jumped at him, his mouth turned up in the nastiest snarl she’d heard yet. Just before he landed on the man, the drunk ducked low and to the right, going under the murderous dog. Pete landed hard and turned for another attack, but the man was ready this time and delivered a hard kick to Pete’s muzzle before he could leap again. Pete yelped with pain and flew backward, lying still on his side. Susan screamed his name and ran to the dog, but the drunk caught her and shoved her back to the ground, falling atop her. He fumbled, trying to get her overalls off, and Susan struck out with both fists.

         She had forgotten the knife she still held, but the rusty blade caught him on his left shoulder, tearing a wide hole in his overcoat, shirt and flesh beneath. He screamed in rage and in his momentary shock, Susan pushed out from under him and scooted backwards.
         “Get away from me or I’ll be using your liver for fish bait tomorrow asshole.” Though still scared, the rage was stronger, and in that moment she knew if he did come at her again she could gut him. He growled in rage and pain and leapt at her.
Susan tensed and closed her eyes, ready to stab him when he landed. She heard a bloodcurdling snarl, then a scream and thud. She opened her eyes and saw that Pete had attacked again; he’d bitten the guy’s arm and now had him pinned to the ground with his teeth sunk deep into the man’s forearm. The man flailed helplessly with his other hand trying to hit Pete, but the dog didn’t seem to even feel the feeble blows.
         “Pete stop!” Susan cried, afraid for her friend.
         The man cried out, “Ok, Ok, get ‘im off, get ‘im off!” Pete slowly let go, and backed toward Susan again, ready to attack again. The man cried intelligibly, and started to crawl away from them.
         Susan watched him go and gradually started to relax as she stroked Pete’s wet fur. When the man had gone far beyond her view, she got up and added many more branches to the fire, then checked Pete’s mouth. His face and chest were covered in blood, but she believed most of it belonged to the would-be rapist. She led him down to the river and washed him as well as she could. She found a shallow cut under his jaw from the kick and two broken teeth, but otherwise he seemed alright. “Poor Pete, I’m sorry buddy, but I’m so proud of you. You really took care of that asshole. From now on you only get Prime food; hamburgers at least once a week too.” Pete licked her face clean then rolled over on his back to revel in her attention.
         The next day, they walked until they reached a large city. Susan found a fast food place and bought six cheeseburgers…two for her and four for Pete, and cokes for both. Pete, grateful for the sugary treat, lapped his up quickly. She washed up in the bathroom and changed into the sweatshirt and jeans she bought at a nearby shopping center, stuffing the old things into the shopping bag. She walked on through the ever degenerating streets. The thought to call home and find a ride never entered her mind.
         That evening she found herself in a neighborhood littered with trash, broken down cars and houses which looked as if they’d fall over at any time. Kids no more then eight or nine years old were standing around on street corners wearing very expensive clothing and jewelry. If these kids have so much money…why don’t they fix up their homes, their streets? Some called out to her offering anything she wanted…and more. She watched hookers working their trade and bums drinking and sleeping right on the sidewalks. She found a dingy motel and rented a room for the night, though she would’ve preferred sleeping on the grass than on the nasty bed she found inside…but she knew the flimsy lock on the door was better then nothing.
         Susan showered in the small grimy bathroom and tried not to listen to the grunts and thuds coming through the walls. If she didn’t know better, she would’ve thought a murder was being committed…slowly. Through the long night there were many loud curses and shouts coming from the room to the right of hers. Pete didn’t like it either he kept whining and growling as the noises got louder and the thumping became more rhythmic.

         In the morning she went to check out and find some coffee and breakfast for her and Pete. On the way out, she bumped into her loud neighbor, and stared in shock. The girl couldn’t have been more then twelve or thirteen. Bruises and a fat lip marred an otherwise stunning face. The girl wore a black leather miniskirt and fish-net stockings, no real top to speak of, just a thin strip of red cloth. She didn’t even have breast yet.
         “What’s your name sweetie?” Susan asked.
         “Screw off lady, if you want me it’ll be double, talk to Tito when he gets back.” The doe-eyed girl snarled. Shocked and disgusted, Susan couldn’t believe what she was hearing. This child thought she was propositioning her!
         “I don’t want you, I think you should be in school or something…do your parents know where you’ve been? Can I help you?”
         “Duh, my mother got me into this gig, her boyfriend Tito is my pimp. You don’t know shit, so just back off lady; I don’t need no help from you.”
         Susan wasn’t sure what to do, but she couldn’t just let this child go on selling her body. If her mother really was involved…then she needed her ass kicked, and the kid taken away.
         “Look, a kid your age should be in school and worrying about the latest gossip and whether or not a boy likes you…not venereal diseases and pregnancies and abusive johns.”
         “Whatever. I live in the real world, that shit don’t mean nothing to me.” She said and turned to walk away.
         Susan turned and ran across the street to the gas station and called the police. She reported what happened, but the officer didn’t seem concerned or even as if it was worth putting his doughnut down for.
         “Look lady, I’ll send a car around, but chances are the kid’ll be long gone before it gets there, and in any case, there’s probably a thousand cases just like it. We arrest the ones we can, and social services take the kids…but it doesn’t do much good. They get out of jail and the kids run away from S.S. anyway. I’m sorry but that’s the way it is.”
         “Well something needs to change; you have to do something for these kids…”
         “Lady I’m sorry, but we try…there’s just not enough working programs or resources.”
         “So we just ignore it then? Just go on about our lives and forget that there are kids being sold for sex or drugs?” Susan fairly screamed into the phone and hung up on the overworked officer.
         She stormed back across the street, but sure enough, the kid was gone. Disgusted by the attitude and the knowledge that however pathetic the sentiment, the cop was right. The sad truth was…there wasn’t much they could do with the system the way it was.
         That evening they were on the outskirts of the city and far ahead of her she saw the flashing lights of several police cars. She had been lost in her thoughts of the girl and the degradation of society. The way people take for granted what they have while turning a blind eye to the filth outside their manicured lawns.
         As she neared, she saw several cars just off the road and assumed there had been an accident. An officer stopped her and questioned her about her business. Susan explained that she was just walking and asked what happened.
         “I can’t tell you that ma’am, but I suppose you’ll see it on the news soon enough,” was his curt reply.
         Looking around, she saw four men standing around something on the ground… something wearing black and red.
         “Oh my God!” Susan shouted and ran toward the men. The officer yelled for her to stop, but she ignored him.
         “Oh my God, I saw her this morning!” she shouted as two officers grabbed her before she could get too close.
         “You know this kid? Come over here and sit down, We’ll need your report.” One said leading her to a patrol car.
         She explained about seeing the girl earlier and gave them the mother and boyfriend’s names. They loaded the dead girl onto a gurney and into an ambulance. Before they covered her with the sheet, Susan could see the blood covering her small body.
         “Please…give this to her. I know it’s too late, but every little girl should have a doll. Please.” Susan dug in the bag and pulled out the lost doll.
         The officer looked at her strangely, but finally nodded and took it from her. “I got a girl about her age…I understand.” He walked towards the ambulance staring down at the doll lost in his own thoughts. He was probably thinking about his own daughter and how easily that could’ve been her lying there.

         They took her to the station to make a formal report on what little she know of the child and where she was last seen. After several hours there, she only wanted to get home to her hectic, but normal life and hug her babies.
         One of the officers was kind enough to take her to a car rental place on his way home. She rented a car and she and Pete headed home. She had only been gone four days, but to her it seemed an eternity. She’d count her blessings each day and not turn a blind eye to the problems anymore. She’d do what she could to try and help right things.

         Back home at last, she walked in the door and was greeted with the familiar chaos of arguing children, blaring TV and toys lying about. In the living room she found Dana and John watching a music video, Daniel on the phone, and Derek listening to his MP3’s. How…normal it all seemed.
         Bill came down the stairs carrying his coat and briefcase. “Hi honey, you’re late. I have a dinner meeting tonight, can’t help it but I’ll be home early. Hey, did you remember the dry cleaning?”
         Susan smiled, and adjusted her husbands tie as she had almost everyday for the last 15 years. “I forgot dear, I’ll get it tomorrow. Have I told you lately how much I love you? How happy I am for our life together?”
         Bill’s face softened, and he looked at her…really at her for the first time in a long while. “I’m happy to hear it, I worried that we’d gotten stale. I love you too baby, and I promise I’ll cut down the hours …we really do need more time together. What brought this on all of a sudden though?”
         Stretching up to kiss him with a passion she thought gone, she replied, “Nothing really dear…I just wanted you to know. Let’s just say that my walk taught me a few things.

         God, how I missed… us. Have a good night…and hurry home, I’ll be waiting.” Bill kissed her again, thinking of what lay ahead and almost called off the meeting. He pulled his mouth away reluctantly, and with a leering smile said, “Alright, I’ll get home as soon as I can…then we’ll start on the…quality time.”

         After Bill had gone, she started picking up the littered toys clothing. Sometimes you just never know how good you have it, until it’s gone or you get a good look at what’s on the other side of the fence. That old saying is right…the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Falling asleep on her walk turned out to be a true learning experience.

The End

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