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Later that day, as she sat on the edge of her parents’ bed, Lilia held in an ocean of tears and released her despair to Little Rose. As usual, the doll was propped up against the far wall atop Maria’s chest of drawers, perpetually out of reach.

     “Arturo left, Papa is gone, and Erminio might be with God now. And…I lost you, too.”  Lilia’s bottom lip quivered. “I feel sad and scared all the time, Little Rose. Even when the sun comes out, it’s dark and cold. I was happier when Papa was here.” 

     Slowly but surely, Lilia’s anger—which she’d held in for so long—began to bubble up to the surface. She clenched her fists tightly by her sides as she swallowed her tears. “I try to be honest, good, and kind—I do whatever I’m told! I—I work sohard!” Lilia lifted her eyes to Little Rose as if begging for answers. “Why is the world so mean? Why is God taking everyone away from me? I’m just a girl!” 

     Lilia threw herself onto the bed and smashed her face into the pillow as if to hold back the tide of tears that threatened to drown her. As she wrapped her arms around her father’s pillow, memories of him and her older brothers raced toward her, drenching her in even more sadness. 

     “My heart hurts every time I think of you. I miss talking and laughing the way we did. There’s no one to hug me—no more goodnight kisses. I don’t matter to anybody anymore!” Desolate sobs escaped her. She knew there was nobody to hear her, and nobody to respond. And Little Rose simply stared at Lilia with glassy, unfeeling blue eyes. 

     “I miss you. I miss you with my soul.”

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