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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: The Little Climber

Courtesy, Susan Reid
Wren Forbes, 12, of Fayston, VT, was inspired to write this story by an incident she witnessed between a mother and child – and by a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that we must “never lose infinite hope.”";s:3:

The Little Climber

By Wren Forbes, Age 12, Fayston, VT

"We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope."
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I rub my sore hands before clipping myself back into the rope.  I have one foot on the wall when a little boy and his mom catch my eye.  They pull on their rented gear – sticky shoes and harnesses.

The little boy’s huge brown eyes sparkle as he stares at the multi-colored holds on the wall.  He runs over and starts touching every hold.  It’s like he hasn’t eaten for days and he’s standing in front of all his favorite foods.  “Mom, Mom! I want to climb this one!” 

She looks up at the tall wall.  “No, that one’s too hard.” 

His eyes grow a little narrower as he walks over to another climb.  “Mom, can I do this one?” 

“No, that’s too hard.” 

They walk around the whole gym this way until the little boy’s eyes are so narrow that he can hardly see through them. They are so dull that I am sure stones have replaced his eyes.

They stand in the middle of the gym. His head hangs low as he stares at the floor. His mom stands beside him watching two other little boys scramble up the dyno wall.  "I'll race you to the banana- shaped hold!" one yells down. "No, I'll race you to the frog-shaped hold at the very top," yells his friend.

The mother looks up and says, "Wow, you guys are so brave."  

She turns to her little boy who could make her proud if only she would be brave enough to let him try.  “What do you want to do?” she says. 

“I want to go home,” he says in a whisper.

As I stand there, I feel my heart break. The little climber inside him is gone.

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