Two missing front teeth, pig tails, and a broad smile peer at Emma. With a sigh, she places the lonely photo back in its place. The box lid sits open, the photo taunting its owner as she sits back with a deep groan. Her bones creak, joints pop, and a breath, simple as it is, rattles her paper-thin lungs.

She watches the box carefully. An indescribable shapes begins to bubble from the box, twisting, turning, shaking, and transforming. As it finally lands with a less than graceful thud on the thick carpet. Emma doesn’t say a word, she watches as the little girl, missing teeth and all jumps to her feet energetically, bouncing on the balls, a gap tooth smile aimed at Emma.

The girl looks at Emma, a twinkle in her eye, mischief on her mind, and adventure in her soul. She waves at Emma, quick and furious–full of life and excitement. Emma pauses and takes a deep breath. Lungs rattling, eyes dilating, body creaking.

The girl cocks her head, looking at Emma, before reaching out her hand.

Emma takes a deep breath. Lungs rattling, eyes dilating, body creaking.

She places her hand in the girl’s and takes a deep breath. Lungs strong, eyes lit with excitement, body…gone. She looked at her friend with a smile. She turned back, looking at herself, a nurse entered the room gently, softly, looking at her lying peacefully on her bed, picture in hand.

“8:01 am, Ms. Emma Davis, passed at 97.”

Emma grinned at her gap-toothed friend and smiled, her own gap-toothed smile showing. She turns back to her body and smiles softly at herself. “Let’s go home.” Emma laughed before leaving the room and towards the light beyond the doorway.

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