Kätlin Vainola. “Where is Love?”

Reading sample

SARAH AND HER MOTHER STARTED GOING OUTSIDE.
THEY PUT THEIR BOOTS ON.
SARAH’S BOOT BUCKLE DIDN’T WANT TO CLOSE.
“LOOK—MY BOOT DOESN’T LOVE ME,” SARAH SAID.

“IT DOESN’T?!” HER MOTHER ASKED IN SURPRISE.
“WHY DO YOU THINK THAT?”
“IT DOESN’T WANT TO GO ON MY FOOT,”
SARAH SAID, AND PUSHED HER BOOT AWAY.

SARAH’S MOTHER PICKED UP THE BOOT AND PUT IT
ON SARAH’S FOOT HERSELF.
“I LOVE YOU AND WILL PUT YOUR BOOT ON.
I’D LIKE YOU TO COME OUTSIDE WITH ME,”
HER MOTHER SAID.

“HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME?” SARAH ASKED HER MOTHER.

“I JUST KNOW IT.
I FEEL IT
HERE AND HERE AND HERE,”
HER MOTHER ANSWERED,
AND POINTED TO HER HEART
AND HER HEAD
AND HER STOMACH.

SARAH ASKED ON:
“BUT THEN WHERE IS LOVE
WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL IT? IS IT ALIVE?
WHAT COLOR IS IT?
CAN YOU TOUCH IT?
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT?
CAN YOU
LOSE IT?

HER MOTHER THOUGHT AND THOUGHT.
IT REALLY WASN’T
VERY EASY
TO ANSWER
THOSE QUESTIONS.

SHE LOOKED AT SARAH.
SARAH WAS WEARING A SCARF AND MITTENS.
“LOVE IS IN THAT SCARF AND THOSE MITTENS,” HER MOTHER SAID.
“HOW?” SARAH ASKED IN SURPRISE.
“GRANDMA KNIT YOU THAT SCARF AND THOSE MITTENS.
SHE LOVES YOU AND WANTS YOU TO BE WARM OUTSIDE.
AND I ASK YOU TO DRESS UP WARMLY.
I LOVE YOU AND DON’T WANT YOU TO FREEZE.”

“THEN LOVE IS ALIVE,”
SARAH RECKONED.
“IT CERTAINLY IS,” NODDED HER MOTHER.

“LOVE IS INSIDE OF ALL PEOPLE.
AND PEOPLE RADIATE
LOVE OUTWARD.

LOVE IS IN A CAKE
BAKING IN AN OVEN.

LOVE IS IN A PICTURE
THAT YOUR FATHER HANGS
ON THE WALL.

LOVE IS IN A HAND
THAT PETS A CAT.”

“IS LOVE IN THE SNOWMAN THAT WE MADE, TOO?”
SARAH ASKED.
“YES, I CERTAINLY THINK SO,” HER MOTHER SAID.
“THEN LOVE IS THE COLOR WHITE.”
“IT JUST MIGHT BE.”

HER MOTHER LOOKED AT THE SKY.
“MAYBE LOVE
IS BLUE SOMETIMES, TOO,” SHE SAID.

“AND YELLOW,”
SARAH SAID, POINTING AT THE SUN.

“AND RED,”
HER MOTHER SAID, POINTING TO THEIR HOME,
WHICH HAD BEEN PAINTED RED
LAST SPRING.

“AND GRAY,”
SARAH SAID, POINTING
TOWARDS THE GATE.
THERE WAS HER FATHER, WHO
WAS WEARING A GRAY COAT AND
WAS COMING HOME FROM WORK.

HER FATHER HUGGED SARAH
AND HER MOTHER AT ONCE.
“LOOK, MOM—YOU CAN TOUCH LOVE!”
SARAH SHOUTED,
AND HUGGED HER FATHER EVEN MORE TIGHTLY.

THEY ALL WENT INSIDE TOGETHER.

SARAH RAN SO FAST
THAT SHE TRIPPED AND BUMPED HER KNEE.
SHE STARTED BAWLING.
HER MOTHER PICKED HER UP AND BLEW ON HER KNEE.
SOON, THE PAIN WAS GONE.
“LOOK—YOU CAN GET RID OF PAIN WITH LOVE,”
HER MOTHER SAID, AND SMILED.

SARAH’S MOTHER AND FATHER
STARTED MAKING DINNER TOGETHER.
SARAH DREW.

“I’M AFRAID,” SHE SAID ALL OF A SUDDEN.
“WHY?” HER MOTHER ASKED IN SURPRISE.
“THEN WHAT HAPPENS WHEN LOVE DISAPPEARS?”

“YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF LOVE,
THEN IT WON’T DISAPPEAR,” HER MOTHER REASONED.
“AND YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO CARE FOR IT,”
HER FATHER CONFIRMED.

Translated by Adam Cullen